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Pineapple Thief, The: Someone Here Is Missing

It is a testament to the song writing and performances on Someone Here Is Missing that it took me to go back and listen to The Pineapple Thief's last album, 2008's Tightly Unwound, to really appreciate the change in focus this new album houses. The reason that the step change in sound isn't as obvious as it could and in lesser skilled hands would be, is that the harder edged progressive approach on this release come over as a completely natural next move for Bruce Soord and his bandmates.

Many saw Tightly Unwound as an unashamed homage to all things Radiohead, however if you lived with the disc for quite some time, then the blend of H era Marillion, the less aggressive moments of Porcupine Tree, a very slight sprinkle of Floyd and yes a huge dollop of Thom Yorke and the boys, became a hugely rewarding album that had enough character of its own to withstand comparisons to any of those bands mentioned above. None of those reference points have been erased from TPT's vision for this album, however a more apt description this time round would be a head on collision between Porcupine Tree and Muse that resulted in the majority of the pomposity and over ambition often perpetrated by both those acts, being crushed out of site. What that leaves The Pineapple Thief with is a heavier riff based attack that is still able to show a more fragile and vulnerable side that creates a mixture of anthemic blasts and poignant, emotion stirring introspections. The natural timbre of Soord's voice straddles those two styles perfectly, with his simple delivery reigning in the more excessive moments, while elevating the simple arrangements of the restrained passages.

The spacey keyboards and hopping drum beat of opener "Nothing At Best" is a wonderfully off kilter beginning to the disc, with the interplay between all the instruments making for a marvellously accessible, yet rewardingly complex beginning to an album that is continually able to ease from mood to mood, without missing a beat. "Wake Up the Dead" sees the first real foray into Muse territory with a sparse processed drum beat allowing Soord's voice to gently sooth and seduce before a stomping, yet considered pulse of guitars weaves a hypnotic spell and almost without even noticing, the intensity levels are turned right up to max to close the song out. Already the consistently altering moods and visions are delivering, not only some excellent songs, but ones that have genuine chart bothering potential, with the short acoustic strum and synth strings of "The State We're In" being another perfect example.

"Preparation For Meltdown" is a wonderful exercise in the use of how to use dynamics in a song, with the down beat quiet sections being a perfect balance against the frantic guitar explosions and cymbal smashes that punctuate the sombreness. It is this ability to introduce light and shade through changing themes and ideas, while keeping all the music perfectly in synch with the altering passages that ease their way in and out of the songs, that makes Someone Here Is Missing such a joy. A stronger nod to TPT's past is evident in the Radiohead melancholy of "Barely Breathing", however what is pleasing to note that at this stage in the band's career is that this song may nod to Radiohead, however it really only could be The Pineapple Thief. That is something that is true of all the reference points you hear across this album. Whether it is Muse, Porcupine Tree or at times In Absenthia that could be used to describe these songs, what The Pineapple Thief have done is to reshape those influences into something that is unmistakably all their own. "Show A Little Love" once more highlights the great interplay between Soord's guitar and Steve Kitch's keyboards, where those keys compliment the ever changing guitar line perfectly. The riff housed in this track is one of the best on the disc and as it really fires into being, the stubborn refusal for the catchy as hell riff to repeat is frustratingly brilliant. Special mention also needs to go to the marvellous rhythm section of bassist John Sykes and drummer Keith Harrison who shine throughout the whole album, but are especially bright on this song.

The title track is cinematic in its scope, with swooping swirling strings making for a richly dense feel that creates real tension and release and once more the tremendous pace and poise of the album really comes to the fore. Just when you thought that things really couldn't get any better, the two tracks that close the disc raise the standard even further. "3000 Days" combines all the heavier traits that have surfaced throughout the rest of the songs into one frenzied, building cacophony, before the marvellous epic "So We Row" encapsulates the whole disc into one song. Robust riffs, stabbing keyboards, frayed raw emotions, wonderful vocal arrangements and altering time signatures combine into a tremendous song that the whole album seems to have been building towards.

The excellently packaged limited edition digi-book (with artwork from Storm Thorgesen) also contains two excellent bonus tracks in the shape of "Long Time Walking" which is worth the price of the disc on its own and the acoustic reworking of album opener "Nothing At Best", which with the drums and bombast stripped out almost sounds like an completely different song.

Teaming up with K-Scope for the release of the excellent Tightly Unwound brought The Pineapple Thief to the notice of what had been, up until that point a largely disinterested prog audience, Someone Here Is Missing should see the band go one step further and rival Muse and Porcupine Tree for attention with the prog and mainstream masses. This is a serious contender for album of the year - don't miss out, it really is that good.

Track Listing
1. Nothing at Best
2. Wake Up The Dead
3. The State We're In
4. Preparation For Meltdown
5. Barely Breathing
6. Show A Little Love
7. Someone Here Is Missing
8. 3000 Days
9. So We Row
10. Long Time Walking
11. Nothing at Best (Acoustic Version)

Added: November 16th 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Pineaaple Thief Official Web Site
Hits: 4800
Language: english

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Pineapple Thief, The: Someone Here Is Missing
Posted by Ryan Sparks, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-11-16 11:41:16
My Score:

You've got to hand it to Bruce Soord and his Pineapple Thief cronies because with each new album they always seem to up the ante and raise the bar by continuing to successfully incorporate different styles of music, such as progressive, electronica and straight ahead rock and pop, into their ever expanding aural canvas. Now ten years deep into their career The Pineapple Thief which while it has been looked upon as being Soord's baby, I have to say that on their eighth full length album Someone Here Is Missing, The Pineapple Thief has also evolved into sounding more like an actual, functioning band. The process has been a gradual one but these subtle changes started to take effect right around the time of their last studio effort Tightly Unwound (2008).

Together with Jon Sykes (bass), Steve Kitch (keys) and drummer Keith Harrison, Soord has crafted nine, richly layered and heavily textured compositions that will certainly once again inevitably draw comparisons to Radiohead, Muse and Porcupine Tree. I've often felt that of all the comparisons that I've heard or read over the years, to me Radiohead seemed to hold the most weight, primarily because I consider the bands previous efforts to be a unique cross between The Bends and Ok Computer era 'head, but also because at times because Soord's vocal style is quite reminiscent of Tom Yorke's. That being said, I have to say I wasn't as preoccupied with making comparisons or trying to compartmentalize the band this time around, as I wisely chose to just focus my attention on these superbly crafted songs, and how they all come together in such a cohesive fashion that it makes for an incredibly rewarding listening experience. For example I love how they are able to slide effortlessly from the spiraling and seemingly out of control guitar and techno bombast of "Preparation For Meltdown" and then follow that up with the absolutely gorgeous and shimming piano and acoustic guitar melodies on "Barely Breathing". Then again the whole album is like this from beginning to end as they successfully allow elements of light and shade to permeate throughout. The harder edged "Nothing At Best", "Show A Little Love" and the title track sound perfectly at home alongside the distinctly more progressive and expansive, layered approach found on "3000 Days" and "So We Row". It's not only the music that's stellar here either, because the visual element is equally as impressive as the band was able to snag legendary album artist Storm Thorgerson to design the cover and layout.

With Someone Here Is Missing The Pineapple Thief have once again demonstrated that they are a musical force to be reckoned with, because quite honestly this has to be considered as their most comprehensive sounding release to date.

Pineapple Thief, The: Someone Here Is Missing
Posted by Jordan Blum, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-06-20 17:33:15
My Score:

The Pineapple Thief was always a band who wore their influences on their sleeve. However, even with undeniable similarities to Radiohead, Ozric Tentacles, and Porcupine Tree, they consistently deliver catchy, emotive songwriting and progressive rock innovation. Someone Here is Missing places some new production techniques over their trademark qualities, solidifying their status as a very special group with some very moving and exciting music.

Formed at the end of the 90s, the history of The Pineapple Thief is also similar to fellow English act Porcupine Tree. Creative mastermind Bruce Soord released two solo albums under the name (which grew a cult following) and eventually he decided to turn TPT into a real band. Since then, they've released several albums and EPs, with 2008's Tightly Unwound easily being their best yet (it's really a great album). With Someone Here is Missing, Soord wanted to craft "a record of dark edges, full of love and regret; my life in the last eighteen month pretty much." It carries the juxtaposing beautiful heartache and thunderous jams we've come to expect, albeit with a new coating of keyboards and sampling.

Someone Here is Missing opens with "Nothing At Best," a pounding combination of electronica and rock that bares comparison to Muse. Of course, Soord's vocals are always more subdued and fragile than Matthew Bellamy, and his songwriting is always more subtle (not to discredit Muse, who are great as well). Lyrically, Soord has a habit of mixing the sadness of an ended relationship with simple threats against his ex, and this holds true here with lines like "Just stay with me tonight? And I will bury you along with our lives." It's a thrilling way to start the record.

"Wake Up The Dead" feels like a continuation as it maintains the aforementioned electro/rock aesthetic. Here, Soord vows to understand the subject's suicide (who he's speaking to is anyone's guess). His vocal is smoother here, and the music is a bit more sparse and ominous, focusing on an intriguing drum beat, harsh guitar riffs and sound loops. "The State We're In" is where Soord lets all of his glorious melancholy shine. A very affective melody (which is certainly a trademark of TPT) is complemented by the tapping of high hats, guitar (of course), orchestration and piercing falsetto harmony (another trademark). Soord is best when he bares his soul behind lush production, and this track is a great example of that.

A hypnotic guitar line and more sound loops invite Soord to mix a bit more anger with his betrayal on "Preparation for Meltdown." Again, as listeners, we hang on his every word, imagining how we'd feel if dealt the same hand in life. An aggressive crash of rock segments the quieter verses, and a stunning blend of synthesizers adds to its evolution. Things settle down for the middle section, allowing Soord to sing alone momentarily before a buzz saw guitar and programmed drums build things up again. It's wonderful noise.

An acoustic guitar and piano welcome us into "Barely Breathing," another tear jerker. With its gorgeous melody (sung perfectly, of course), warm instruments and subtle orchestration, it's easily one of the best songs on the album, if not TPT's entire career. Still holding on to memories of waking up in love and regretting what he did to screw it up, Soord agonizes about how he could never "make it up to you, my love." A great artist can harbor on the same themes and topics for their entire career and always keep it interesting. TPT certainly do.

Heading back into more destructive rock, "Show a Little Love" excels as a great example of dynamics. The verse is calm and the chorus is heavy, almost like a rollercoaster carrying different levels of intensity. As always, they use distinctive timbres to keep their freak outs unique. "Someone Here is Missing" is another somber ballad that will stay with you for awhile. A simple acoustic introduction leads into the more catchy and forceful verse and chorus. Soord's voice cracks as he lets his passion excel his range, but that's the sign of a true artist, and it's the type of song that unveils more layers and textures upon repeated listening.

"3000 Days" (which shares its name from the fantastic double disc retrospective released almost a year ago) brings back the slightly psychedelic guitar tone TPT used a lot in the past. Its rhythmic melody is quite catchy and the chorus features harmony just audible enough to make it stand out. More trademark timbres highlight the guitar and keyboard accompaniment and it carries a great vibe that makes you want to blast it through speakers.

Several of The Pineapple Thief's outputs conclude with an epic track, and "So We Row" is no exception. At almost ten minutes, it's absolutely the most bombastic, heavily produced and progressive track. Beginning with guitar, drums, synths, horns and other percussion playing around of 7/4, we already know that the song is going to erupt into progressive rock madness by the end. Soord's vocals are confident and feature several overdubs as the instrumental tension increases. Things calm down in that typical psychedelic/prog fashion of putting layers of odd sounds and echoes over the ambience (surely an intermission before a complex eruption). A minute or two later, this explosion occurs as the same instruments keep pounding away, this time with louder horns. Soon Soord reprises his melody, first unaccompanied but soon joined by vocal countermelodies (which is a very interesting trick). The final seconds consist of Soord singing "So we row" acappella. It's an impressive closer.

If there are any gripes I have with Someone Here is Missing, it's that it's simply not as progressive and complex as what we'd expect. On previous albums, TPT would really go into new territory and show some really interesting arpeggio ideas and skill at their instruments. This album seems to lack that a bit, fitting more into a standard rock criteria. Also, the songs just aren't as affective and memorable as they should be. Don't get me wrong, some of these tracks will become instant classics in their catalogue and deserve to be considered amongst the best, but other tracks don't satisfy expectations. Check out "Tightly Wound" for a great example of how the two sides of TPT combine expertly.

Someone Here is Missing is another fine addition to discography of a very special band (there just isn't another word as fitting to describe them). Again, while their sound may be largely similar to other bands, they way they construct their pieces are very unique, and Soord has an exceptional way of writing songs. Honestly, I think Tightly Unwound is definitely a better studio album and 3000 Days is a fantastic introduction for newcomers, but this one is well worth your attention too.

Pineapple Thief, The: Someone Here Is Missing
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-06-13 14:08:59
My Score:

Shame on me for not recognizing the achievements of The Pineapple Thief before now. I've been hearing the praise for this prog rock outfit for years now, but it's only with the release of Someone Here is Missing that I've been able to even give this band a chance, and I'm sure glad I did.

What I'm hearing from most is that these guys have changed their style numerous times over the years, and that Someone Here is Missing is another 'about face' for the band. Based on what I'm hearing on this CD, The Pineapple Thief straddle that fine line between prog, hard rock, pop, and electronic. Opening cut "Nothing at Best" is an upbeat, rocking number with plenty of groove, bubbling keys, and thunderous guitar, and would find a home with anyone who is into Porcupine Tree. Bouncy pop-rock can be heard on "The State We're In", a real infectious piece with jangly guitar riffs, mellotron, and snappy rhythms. Think Coldplay meets Hogarth -era Marillion and you get a feel for where this one is coming from. The mini-epic "Preparation for a Meltdown" is like a wild mix of Porcupine Tree, Eno, Marillion, and Smashing Pumpkins, and huge guitar riffs combat techno styled electronics and jazzy drum licks on the alluring "Show a Little Love". The final two lengthy tracks "3000 Days" and "So We Row" feature perhaps some of the more 'proggy' passages on the CD, as they are layered with acoustic guitars, booming bass riffs, bubbly synths, and soothing vocals.

Someone Here is Missing is not the sort of thing that I find myself gravitating towards regularly, but there's so much variety here that it's hard to resist all the temptations that this CD oozes. Though it might be hard to classify, there's no denying that this latest from The Pineapple Thief is what modern rock is all about.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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