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The Pineapple Thief - All The Wars (Album Review)

Monday, 03 September 2012 Written by Ben Bland
The Pineapple Thief - All The Wars (Album Review)

Let’s be honest here, I should absolutely love The Pineapple Thief. Their sound contains hefty elements of my two favourite bands of all time (Oceansize and Radiohead), not to mention the likes of Anathema, Pink Floyd, Pearl Jam and Porcupine Tree. Furthermore their last album, 2010’s “Someone Here is Missing”, brought an impressive new level of energy and vitality to their sound. Following as it does the band’s finest album to date, therefore, my expectation levels for “All the Wars” were high to say the least. This, in some ways, really is make or break time for The Pineapple Thief.

ImageThus, to say that this album is a crushing disappointment is something of an understatement. Sometimes the job of a reviewer is made far easier by personal detachment from the music they must listen to. It is very easy to criticise bands you have never heard of and know little or nothing about. It is not so easy to criticise a band whose progress you have watched with interest and of whom you have begun to consider yourself a genuine fan. Such is the predicament of my experience with “All the Wars”.

To be brutally honest, and to attempt a state of detachment, almost everything about this record falls frustratingly flat. It starts reasonably enough. The first two tracks, “Burning Pieces” and “Warm Seas” make for a solid introduction but things soon crash into a murky malaise which is rarely broken out of. The major reason for this is how limp everything sounds. There is no need for The Pineapple Thief to go down the prog metal route that Porcupine Tree did on “Deadwing”, for example, but there is little point having guitars at all if they are going to sound as timid as on this release. The acoustic led tracks should, therefore, be a welcome reprieve but, like most of the record, they are not safe from being dolloped with unnecessary string parts that have the unfortunate ability to turn potentially decent songs into the sonic equivalent of a soggy pudding.

One cannot help but wonder if this is this the band’s ultimate tip of the hat to the seventies prog bands that frontman Bruce Soord loves? For a record that is neatly under an hour in length the amount of flab here is inexcusable. The idea behind every track seems to be to drape it with unnecessary awnings that take away from the charm the songs could otherwise exert. If The Pineapple Thief want to be a prog band they need to start writing songs with more interesting and diverse musical structures. It does seem that they have taken the arty alt-rock of “Someone Here is Missing” as far as it can go. Most of the music here is fundamentally very simplistic and borders on the tedious, and the often repetitive lyrics coupled with Soord’s faux-Yorke vocal stylings hardly help the cause.

“All the Wars” may not be entirely pointless. Closer “Reaching Home” is arguably the most ambitious statement the band has put out to date, but it takes the majority of its nine minute running length to actually focus upon that ambition, something which then renders its place at the end of the record somewhat anticlimactic despite neat touches such as the intriguing choral parts. “Build a World”, meanwhile, is perhaps the one track on the album that feels like it could do with a bit extra, perhaps a bit more of an electronic element, but is still probably the highlight of the record.

For a band that looked like they had finally found their way a couple of years back, The Pineapple Thief have fallen spectacularly at this hurdle. “All the Wars” lacks direction, purpose and, despite not being a long record, is mostly very dull. The Pineapple Thief have a lot to do now if they want to scale the heights that they surely have the potential to.

“All the Wars” is out now via Kscope. The Pineapple Thief tour the UK in September.

The Pineapple Thief UK & Ireland Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat September 15th 2012 - Manchester Sound Control, Manchester
Mon September 17th 2012 - Fleece, Bristol

Click Here to Compare & Buy The Pineapple Thief Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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