“We are in Exile/You know/We were Akin/Our lies you know.” The opening line from the aural dream soundscape of In Exile dealing with in my opinion, being isolated and locked away from the world without help and being part of as Mark Twain puts it, The Damned Human Race. That and the band’s new studio album which is a follow up to their 10th album, Magnolia entitled Your Wilderness. Released this year on the Kscope label, it is one of the band’s aural textures and moody/darker atmosphere’s that Soord himself brings to life.
Since their formation back in 1999, The Pineapple Thief have always redefined their sound. Now I’m not a gigantic fan of the band’s music, but I have a huge amount of respect of what they have accomplished along with Bruce Soord’s songwriting and mixing. Soord is also a very busy man when it comes to 5.1 mixes. He’s done work on the 5.1 sound with bands and artists such as; Opeth, TesseracT, Tim Bowness, Katatonia, and Riverside.
Alongside Bruce Soord, Bassist John Sykes, and Keyboardist Steve Kitch, they brought along some help including Caravan’s Geoffrey Richardson of Caravan to help out on the string section, Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree, King Crimson) on Drums who recorded his sound and engineered at his own studio and Geoffrey himself did the recording of the string quartet at his own studio in Canterbury. There’s also Darran Charles of Godsticks on Guitar and Supertramp’s John Helliwell on Clarinet.
The four highlights on the album including the amazing artwork done by Carl Glover’s photos which is a trip back in time in the 1960s of the conceptual brainstorm of the album, it’s like looking at a pair of old shoes you haven’t wore for a long time and the photos adds the ideas and up to you as a listener to give your own ideas of what’s happening. And Soord is keeping his lips firmly closed about this.
No Man’s Land is a touching composition with an acoustical section. The lyrical themes on the loss of innocence and knowing if you’re happy in the empty scenario for the sun to return. Gavin is in free-form as he is in full control of the drum kit while the harmonizing background vocals featuring an intense chugging section of the electric guitar, gives forth the booming Bass sounds before the last minute of the song section, goes heavy.
With throttling intense guitar riffs on Tear You Up, it has the switch genre. From Acoustic to Alternative Rock as the distant shores of the voices calling out for someone, but no one is there while Take Your Shot feature riff-melodies. With a reverb/delay effect intro it has a louder rhythm groove as Soord’s songwriting takes up a whole new level with a wah-wah improvisation.
The lyrics almost remind me of a competition game of Chess to see who will in the final round or about the person’s detail of moving toward a new beginning and seeing where their future lies ahead for them in the long and winding road. Fend For Yourself is Bruce channeling the mind of Steven Wilson.
There’s a Jazz atmosphere on the composition. With a beautiful piano and into the acoustic rhythm as Gavin goes into the jazz techniques of his kit before John Helliwell’s driving clarinet section gives forth the styles of both John Coltrane and Miles Davis as he takes flight throughout his improvisation.
As I said this before earlier, I’m not a big Pineapple Thief fan, but listening to the entire album about three times now, it’s not bad. Is it a great album? No, but it is an interesting and beautiful texture that Soord has brought to the kitchen table. Your Wilderness is a fascinating and emotional album I’ve listened to and I might check and see what Bruce himself will come up with next.