Magnolia is a melodic serenade, an album which across its immersive seduction is equally unafraid to roar and show a creative and sonic muscle. The new full-length form UK rock band The Pineapple Thief, it is an absorbing proposition, maybe not one to set the passions ablaze but certainly an encounter gripping ears and imagination in a riveting embrace.
The Pineapple Thief began in 1999, formed by vocalist/guitarist Bruce Soord as initially an ‘experimental bedroom project’. It has proceeded to be an attention grabbing band earning acclaim and success across its thought inspiring journey and releases, Magnolia their tenth album. The successor to the acclaimed Someone Here Is Missing and All The Wars of 2010 and 2012 respectively, the new release feels like the offspring of all the influences and essences of the band’s previous exploits; dreamy, progressive textures and enterprise combining to evolve into new bracing pop infused rock adventures. As mentioned, the Kscope released album might not ignite a lustful ardour but with ease it makes for one of the most vivaciously captivating propositions this year, managing to really bring the band’s renowned live power and intensity into a release for arguably the first time.
As soon as the jangling touch of opener Simple As That hits ears, band and album are in control of attention with the swiftly following vocals of Soord even more coaxing through their mellow tone. It is a gentle caress initially, Soord’s guitar as gentle as his voice before the dramatically impacting and thrilling eruption which follows turns the track on its head. It is a glorious and contagious expulsion of riffs and crisp rhythms released by Soord and Dan Osborne respectively, an intensive flame of energy and emotion with the vocals a mesmeric lure. It is hard to avoid suggesting a Muse comparison, but with the richly enticing bait of Jon Sykes’ bass adding to the subsequently sultry and pleasingly imposing stance of the track, there is a uniqueness which belongs to The Pineapple Thief. Anthemic and gripping, it is an impressive start to the album matched immediately by Alone at Sea. Entering on a bubbly hug of keys from Steve Kitch, the song flirts with ears and thoughts through suggestive melodies and the vocal prowess of Soord. The track proceeds to weave and entwine around the senses with a provocative weave of melodies and harmonies, a shoegaze breath at times kissing the narrative, but also stirring them up with sinew sculpted flames of heavier rock endeavour. As with many tracks there is a familiarity to the fascinating canvas but only adding to the infectious bait and addictive enticement.
Neither Don’t Tell Me nor the title track quite touches the plateaus of the first pair but both cast engaging and impressively compelling persuasions. The first is an emotive shuffle of rhythms and acoustic chords under a warm yet cloudy expanse of keys. This is coloured with a riveting orchestral expression which as across the album is arranged by Andrew Skeet, and a rawer incitement of guitar, whilst the second of the pair soars through another sky of orchestral beauty into an emotive climate of smouldering passion and bewitching elegance. As said they do not quite match their predecessors, but forcibly leave appetite and feelings greedy for more with their enthralling enterprise and skilled composition.
The slow Coldplay like balladry of Seasons Past is a tantalising flame of vocals and provocative melodies which seduces thoughts if not emotions to the same success, already personal greed for the more forceful elements of the album steering reactions, as also found by Coming Home. Despite that though, there is no escaping the incendiary beauty and orchestrated radiance of the strings in both tracks and the dramatic intensity and adventure of the second of the two. Vocally too there is no defence from the potent lure of Soord’s voice and the supporting harmonies of Sykes, their individual and united contributions as poetically inciting as the sounds around them.
The tenacious twang of guitar, matched by a similar bass riff, through the heart of The One You Left to Die instantly grips ears and appetite, the track going on to bind an immersive web of intrigue and melodic intimacy around its thrilling spine. It is a hypnotic flight of invention which sets up the senses for the rowdy roar of Breathe perfectly. That mighty expulsion setting the song off though it is soon awash with crystalline melodies and floating vocals before merging its peace into the original rugged and explosive bellow of sound and energy. The track is like a blend of House of Love, Doves, and Feeder, and another pinnacle of the album.
The stringed and emotionally shadowed From Me comes next, its dark charm engrossing before making way for the outstanding Sense of Fear. Guitars lay an irresistible web of jagged riffs to capture the imagination before aligning them with jabbing beats and a climactic embrace of keys and fiery melodies. It is only a moment in the shifting scenery of the song though, a slow provocative vocal caress aided by glances of keys bringing a dulled yet tantalising breath before a sturdy stride of intensive sonic flames and rhythmic bait have their potent say. It is a scintillating encounter which brings the stage presence of the band closer to the comfort of the home.
Magnolia closes with first up the graceful flight of A Loneliness and lastly the bordering on sinister noir wrapped elegance of Bond. The former is a strong and satisfying offering but between the previous track and the cinematic brilliance of the final song it is unable to leap out of their shadow and soon forgotten against the magnificent weighty body and emotional colouring of its successor. Both songs ensure the album ends on a high though, The Pineapple Thief never relinquishing its hold on ears and imagination across its aural and creative fascination, emerging as quite simply a must investigate proposal.
Magnolia is available now via Kscope @ https://www.burningshed.com/store/kscope/collection/284/
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