Opening with a sparse, haunting piano and vocals piece titled ‘Not Naming Any Names’, The Pineapple Thief perfectly deliver a droll introduction to a brooding new album.
The next track, ‘Try as I Might’ is almost poetic, brings the full four piece band in and offers lyrics that serve as an insightful commentary on the demise of privacy and invasions of personal interactions in today’s electronic realm.
Front man and guitarist Bruce Soord calmly but succinctly skewers social media’s insidiousness with surgical precision. The addition of drummer Gavin Harrison as a full time member to the band is a masterstroke given his apt experience with the musical powerhouses of Porcupine Tree and King Crimson. The production is stunning with arrangements and instrumentation that weaves in and out of song structures smoothly whilst the melodies and immersive songwriting is nothing short of brilliant.
‘Threatening War’ and ‘Uncovering Your Tracks’ benefit from the use of acoustic guitars entwined with electric guitars that crisscross in the mix. Keyboardist Steve Kitch and bassist Jon Sykes add gravitas to said tracks as the choruses build, bolstered by solid drumming that also includes flourishes of virtuosic flair within the mix. The accents or moments of emphasis in the songs show how the band has improved in song writing since their last extremely impressive album Your Wilderness from 2016.
Lyrically, this is not cheery stuff but that makes it all the more compelling as a body of art. Building to a musical crescendo is done with pace and taste as lyrics explore complacency and sublimated aggression while chords ring out against vocals harmonies. Using music to retaliate to the stupidity of rash decisions and the repercussions of irresponsible behaviour is dealt out with cold, calculating lyricism during ‘All That You’ve Got’ which also includes an incredibly catchy chorus line. The layers within build up to include a beautifully brief descending guitar line that almost squeals in discomfort.
Quickly moving into the next track, ‘Far Below’, also the album’s first single, is a dynamic piece born from a jam in 6/8 time signature. Rhythmic drive segues into a section of spatial flow or musical interlude that builds up to an enjoyable wall of sound. It is just a magnificent piece of music with hints of Radiohead at their angst-filled best. The acerbic lyrics motif is enhanced in the short but contextual and vocal driven acoustic track ‘Pillar of Salt’. Dark and hypnotic, it deftly introduces the epic album highlight ‘White Mist’. The track is over eleven minutes long so the band is not out to comply with limiting confines in song construction.
The instrumentation in this track is superb as is the playing with the chorus theme established early on but reprised in variations before morphing into a more atmospheric approach with observant lyrics of bleak assessments of self-inflicted problems swamping one’s soul. The excellent drumming ushers in the musical screeches from experimental guitarist David Torn’s guest solos, creating a combustible musical environment, bookended by pulsating synthesiser sounds and effects. Torn’s sound creates the sensation of things breaking apart before fading out in a more gentle cascade of rumbling notes.
A suitably less oppressive track is next heard in the final song ‘Shed a Light’ but the lyrics are no less cutting as the acoustic guitar backs up the subtle reverb against Soord’s melodic vocal parts. The track suddenly picks up pace with stabbing chords, strong drumming and squealing guitar lines to change tact again back into quiet melodicism before the slow building and quite stunning rhythmic figure kicks in to return to the chorus.
The Pineapple Thief continues to grow creatively and with this most recent album, they could be on the cusp of musical greatness. Dissolution is remarkably accessible given the arty and progressive music edge. It is also somewhat dark but the album title is not pulling any punches in that regard. It may even take a few listens to really latch onto the complexities within however it is highly recommended and certainly worth the time of anyone that appreciates well written and highly disciplined music. Dissolution is an astonishing album, presenting a collection of meticulously interconnected songs.
1. Not Naming Any Names
2. Try as I Might
3. Threatening War
4. Uncovering Your Tracks
5. All That You’ve Got
6. Far Below
7. Pillar of Salt
8. White Mist
9. Shed a Light