The Pineapple Thief
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About The Pineapple Thief
British prog rock band the Pineapple Thief began as the passion project of frontman Bruce Soord in Yeovil, Somerset in 1999. He'd been writing songs since the age of 11 as a way of making sense of the world, Born in Germany before moving to England, Soord began his professional career with longtime musical partner Neil Randall in the band Vulgar Unicorn. This collaboration produced three studio albums before he embarked on the Pineapple Thief endeavor, its name chosen after a scene from the 1997 independent film Eve's Bayou. It was a protective entity initially; he didn't expect the positive reception he received. As Soord's musical ambition and abilities grew, so did Pineapple Thief's roster. Its increasing and sometimes shifting personnel were chosen to fit various recording and touring projects. Dozens of albums later, the Pineapple Thief has become one of the most popular prog rock bands on the European continent, they've also developed a large following in Asia as well as a smaller but no less faithful one the United States. The Pineapple Thief have bridged the gaps between prog, indie rock, and sophisticated pop, drawing favorable comparisons to Radiohead, Porcupine Tree, and others.
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. 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 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 like Muse than Radiohead, especially on the propulsive album-opener "Nothing at Best." The Show a Little Love EP and tour-exclusive Someone Here Is Alive 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.
On February 17 of the following year, the band gave the final show of its European tour at Islington Assembly Hall with an expanded lineup utilizing guest drummer Gavin Harrison (King Crimson) and Godsticks' guitarist Darran Charles. Not only did they record the concert for a live album, but employed 15 video cameras to capture documentary and backstage footage. Released in September as Where We Stood, the package included a deluxe edition Blu-ray with the full show, documentary footage, and interviews, as well as two different 5.1 surround mixes (one natural, one discrete) -- all in high-res 24/96 audio. The same edition also included Your Wilderness in stereo and surround, plus the special 8 Years Later album in stereo with a brand-new surround mix as well. (It is the bonus set packaged with Your Wilderness and the follow-up to the 8 Days and 8 Days Later releases that came with Variations of a Dream and 10 Stories Down, respectively.) In addition are five bonus acoustic tracks -- also stereo and surround -- and bonus videos. In November, Kscope re-issued PT's debut album with its original title Abducted at Birth. The early post-progressive album was remastered by PT's keyboardist Steve Kitch with a an updated cover and booklet art using fan-submitted photography to explore the theme of Abducted at Birth, to startling effect. A vinyl version of the recording was released in time for Record Store Day in the spring of 2018. ~ Neil Z. Yeung
- Yeovil, England
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