The Pineapple Thief

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  • Fri, 5.10.18 @ 19.30 Age: 14+
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The Pineapple Thief

The wilderness is something which lives in us all. It stems naturally from the human condition,
leaving us all with a sense of yearning, hoping to be amazed by the endless possibilities
presented through life. Which is why, as a title, Your Wilderness couldn’t be any more fitting for
Somerset art rockers The Pineapple Thief’s eleventh opus – its eight tracks seeping out its own
velvet fog of introspection and ambience. Their silences are drowning and their meditations
golden. It slowly shaped into their most ambitious offering yet.
“The album does have a bit of a concept,” says founding member/master orchestrator Bruce
Soord. “Especially with Carl Glover’s cover which is sort of old-American, showing a mother
and child looking out in their own wilderness. And really that’s what the songs are about… life.
It sounds pretentious when you say it like that, but that’s what I wanted the spirit of the
artwork, lyrics and songs to convey. That wilderness represents this band’s journey through
life.”


The journey began some seventeen years ago in the unlikely surroundings of Yeovil, Somerset –
where Bruce still resides today. He’s undoubtedly one of the British rock scene’s most
unassuming heroes – someone who quietly devoted himself to his life’s work, building an army
of followers around the world organically, rather than ever contemplating backdoors. By his own
admission, Bruce never saw the project continuing beyond its 1999 debut offering – it’s only
when The Pineapple Thief singer/guitarist noticed a queue gathering for non-existent merch
when they were invited to open for Caravan, he understood the world was trying to tell him
something… this was a band worth persevering with. Having released a new album every two
years since 2008, and one every year for the three prior – it would be fair to say Bruce has fast
become one of the most prolific songwriters our country has produced in some time. And
perhaps the biggest payoff right now, at this stage, is that he gets to make up his own rules of the
game…


“You realise how hard it is when you’re on the bottom rung of the ladder,” he recalls. “These
days there are many talented bands that don’t know how to get a following or a deal. I wish I
knew what the answer was! I definitely consider myself very lucky.”
Look around him now and you’ll see a flourishing scene of post-progressive music, a revolving
door of musical collaborations and a thriving independent record label. Though in truth, The
Pineapple Thief, completed by bassist Jon Sykes and keyboardist Steve Kitch, have flourished
only thanks to themselves and the collective thirst they’ve bred through their powerfully
evocative musical incantations. Their evolutionary path has yielded their greatest results,
refusing to stagnate but rather hone in on skilfully crafting contemplative masterpieces that
simply couldn’t come from anyone else. Most would be inclined to agree there’s definitely a lot
more at play here than pot luck.


“If I had a time machine and told myself about the things I would go on to do, the younger me
would have said, ‘You’re talking out your arse!’” laughs Bruce. “I can’t believe we’re still doing
it. I think that’s one of the big reasons we changed direction slightly this time, with a nod to
more atmospheric sounds. I wouldn’t say more prog rock in the traditional sense, but it’s less
focused towards anthemic crowd-pleasers or radio hits. We recorded it all remotely from
various studios before the final mix at Soord Studios, which sounds less romantic admittedly,
but it felt like the pressure was off. I kinda reached this zen state. I don’t know if that’s a good
or bad thing for rock music (laughs)! We’ve taken a different route on this one, I think...”
It’s not the first tangent in The Pineapple Thief’s career, and one suspects nor will it be the last.
Right now it definitely feels like the UK atmospheric rockers stand more poised than ever
towards the greatness they’ve long deserved, the creative winds in their sails coming to fruition
in their most captivatingly thought-provoking offering yet. Your Wilderness is an album that
never ceases to enthral, whether it be through its hallucinatory dynamics, world-beating
songcraft or roll call of guests as widely lauded as Gavin Harrison [Porcupine Tree], John
Helliwell [Supertramp], Geoffrey Richardson [Caravan] and Darran Charles [Godsticks].
“Gavin brought so much to the album, it was lovely working with him behind the kit,”
continues Bruce. “Some of our fans have been calling it a dream come true! Who knows what
could happen in the future. I’ve always been a fan of Supertramp so I dropped John an email
about some clarinet parts and he invited me up to Manchester – that’s almost something I had
to tick off my list. In fact, the whole experience had this coming of age vibe, growing older and
looking back on life with a different perspective for inspiration. And then Geoffrey did some
string arrangements… which almost felt like coming full circle after opening for Caravan all
those years ago.”


The Pineapple Thief embarked on a 25 date European tour in 2017, reinforced by Gavin
Harrison (King Crimson) on drums with Darran Charles (Godsticks) on guitar. The undoubtable
highlight of the tour, their most successful so far, was the sold-out show at Islington Assembly
Hall in London; a truly awe-inspiring gig which was serendipitously recorded and became the
band’s first official live concert film. Titled Where We Stood, the film showcases an iconic
performance from the band on new tracks from Your Wilderness, including “In Exile”, “No
Man’s Land” and “The Final Thing On My Mind”, and classics from previous albums, “Nothing
At Best”, “Show A Little Love” and “Simple As That”.
Bruce Soord says about the show and release “It was our last show of the first leg of the tour
and our biggest headline show ever. We had 15 cameras, a massive jib, but more importantly
– a sell-out crowd! The pressure was indeed on, but it’s safe to say that the stars aligned for us
that night and it turned out to be one of the most memorable performances of our career so
far”.


There’s coming full circle and then there’s spiralling off into the great cosmic beyond. Who
knows where this journey will take them – perhaps it remains a mystery to even them, and
maybe, just maybe, that’s the secret to their longstanding success.
This year The Pineapple Thief will be back on the road, touring in support of the hugely
anticipated follow up album to Your Wilderness. More details on the album will be released
soon.