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The Pineapple Thief

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British prog rock band the Pineapple Thief began as the passion project of frontman Bruce Soord in Yeovil, Somerset in 1999. Initially, Soord worked alone. He thought the venture would only last one album -- quickly naming the band after a scene from the 1997 independent film Eve's Bayou -- and did not expect the positive reception the band would receive over the course of their first few releases. The Pineapple Thief's first album, Abducting the Unicorn, was released in 1999. Originally titled Abducted at Birth, the name was changed in order to connect the band to Soord's prior band, Vulgar Unicorn. Abducting featured a distinctly experimental soul, meandering over sonic terrain that incorporated synths, riffs, and vocal delivery that recalled Thom Yorke or Steven Wilson. With each new release, the Radiohead and Porcupine Tree comparisons would only continue. After 2002's 137 and 2003's Variations on a Dream were issued, Soord realized that the Pineapple Thief had a legitimate future. So, he recruited a full band comprised of bassist Jon Sykes, guitarist Wayne Higgins, drummer Keith Harrison, and keyboardist Matt O'Leary. The newly formed quintet recorded TPT's fourth album, 12 Stories Down, which was later re-recorded and rearranged as 10 Stories Down. With the addition of the four extra members, the band's new sound was immediately apparent. Richer layers and a more muscular delivery created fuller atmospherics, drawing comparisons to another Radiohead progeny, Muse. At this time, O'Leary parted ways with TPT and was replaced by Stories producer Steve Kitch. Continuing with the group's album-per-year model, Little Man appeared in 2006. The LP was more introverted and patient than prior releases, giving the band space to play with atmosphere and include more orchestral flourishes. After 2007's What We Have Sown, the band left their home at Cyclops Records and signed with KScope. Higgins parted ways with the band in 2008, just before the release of Tightly Unwound. The album featured the song "Too Much to Lose," which was their longest song yet, clocking in at over 15 minutes. It would also be their most critically acclaimed release to date. A pair of EPs -- Dawn Raids, Vols. 1 and 2 -- was released in 2009, featuring songs from the Unwound sessions. After ten years and seven studio releases, the band released their first retrospective collection, 3000 Days, which included remasters of 20 tracks. For album eight, the aggressive Someone Here Is Missing, TPT incorporated a rougher edge and some outer-space programming, sounding more Muse than Radiohead, especially on the propulsive album-opener "Nothing at Best." The Show a Little Love EP and tour exclusive Someone Here Is Live recording were also released in 2010 to round out the album's cycle. 2011 marked the first year in over a decade without a TPT release. They returned in 2012 with All the Wars, quickly following with the Build a World EP and Live at the 013 in 2013. Founding drummer Harrison left the band in 2014, replaced by Dan Osborne. Seven months later, the moody Magnolia was released. It marked the highest U.K. chart debut for the band. For their 11th album, TPT recruited iconic prog drummer Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree, King Crimson), as well as Supertramp's John Helliwell on clarinet ("Fend for Yourself") and Geoffrey Richardson (Caravan), who brought in a string quartet. Both expansive and organic, Your Wilderness arrived in the summer of 2016. ~ Neil Z. Yeung

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1999 in Yeovil, England

Years Active:

'90s, '00s, '10s