Now 11 studio albums into their career, The Pineapple Thief, led by the capable Bruce Soord, have enlisted some all-star contributions for the latest release Your Wilderness. Joining the instrumentalist/singer/songwriter are drum virtuoso Gavin Harrison, Supertramp's John Helliwell on clarinet, guitarist Darran Charles from Godsticks, and Caravan's Geoffrey Richardson, who provided a string quartet. They, along with dedicated members Jon Sykes (bass) and Steve Kitch (keyboards), have helped make Your Wilderness one of the most enjoyable platters of music from The Pineapple Thief in a while.
Now, you might be thinking that that last statement was a swipe at the bands last few releases, and truth be told, that is the case. While it seems that the vast majority doesn't agree with my sentiment that this band has been mired in a mediocre, dreary pop rut the last few releases, I just flat out haven't been moved by anything this band has produced since the very fine Something Here is Missing. Here with Your Wilderness, the band seem to be trying to take some more chances, and there's a nice variety of styles and textures to be found throughout the album. "Tear You Up" is a hell of a song, the catchy chorus supported nicely by crunchy guitar riffs and proggy keyboards, while the gorgeous "Fend For Yourself" is hook laden dreamy pop with a touch of jazz thanks to Helliwell's alluring clarinet. Look for dark, ominous prog & jazz on the lengthy "The Final Thing On Your Mind", a must hear for any fan of Steven Wilson, and the understated "In Exile" bubbles and boils with intense rhythms, melancholy vocals, and sizzling lead guitar. As for a great pop song, well, it doesn't get much better than "Take Your Shot", another example of the songwriting skills of Soord. While I still find some of the material here a tad meandering, like the sleepy "That Shore", "No Man's Land", and "Where We Stood", for the most part there's a lot of life in much of the album that gives me hope that the band are back on the right path.
While I won't go out and proclaim Your Wilderness the greatest release from The Pineapple Thief yet, it's more than very solid and sure to please their growing fanbase as they bring a few new ones along for the ride.
1) In Exile
2) No Man's Land
3) Tear You Up
4) That Shore
5) Take Your Shot
6) Fend For Yourself
7) The Final Thing On Your Mind
8) Where We Stood