My music listening is limited to rock, hard rock, progressive rock, nu metal (rap metal), heavy metal and few ‘new generation’ chart busters which my kids hum. My only other source of exposure to good music are couple of Facebook Groups, Spotify (off course) and my office super boss Michael Declan Power. So, by no sense of imagination am I any major critic or judge of music; but within my boundaries I have been mesmerized and rate ‘The Pineapple Thief’s’ latest album ‘Your Wilderness’ as album of the year 2016.
I must also admit I didn’t know, a group by this name exists, till in my routine ‘latest music releases’ review, I chanced upon ‘In Exile’. After few hearings, I reviewed it as ‘six sigma music‘. Subsequently I would have heard the song fifty plus times. Once the entire album was available on Spotify, I wasted no time in diving into it.
For the past month and half I have been deeply immersed into this album. Kept it on loop. Kept playing it non stop during my long winding travels visiting the waterfalls of South India to the historical monuments of North India. And all along struggling to find any weak link in this album. Lovers of Coldplay will love it, Radiohead fans will love it, Steven Wilson and Porcupine Tree fans will love it. And if indeed, the names I just rattled out, are your cup of tea then you must listen to The Dear Hunter, Blackfield and Riverside too.
The Pineapple Thief have upped their game massively in this album led by guest and ace drummer (ex-Porcupine Tree) Gavin Harrison. A song like ‘No Man’s Land’ is, on initial hearing, a 3.5/5 song but the last-minute plus of drumming upgrades it to a 5/5 track. It’s little aspects like these that have made this an almost six sigma album. The beats of this song keeps playing in the head as effectively as Lars Ulrich banged in with the epic ‘Enter Sandman’.
The lyrics primarily focus on estrangement, separation, patching up and reconciliation.In some parts the tune and lyric pierce so much that you even question your relationship with the band. In the ultra beautiful ‘The Final Thing on my Mind’ the words ‘How did we get to be this cold? How did I let you get so far from me?’ often makes me question how did I miss the band so easily, why was I so far away from the band so long.
Here’s my ranking of songs from ‘Your Wilderness’
- The Final Thing on my mind
- Tear You Up
- No Man’s Land
- Take Your Shot
- In Exile
- That Shore
- Fend for Yourself
- Where we stood
It’s safe to say even the 6th ranked song, in my rankings above, ‘That Shore’ is a 3.5/5 star song for me, which highlights the quality of the album. I will be surprised if this album doesn’t make it to all major awards nominations. The band have done a super fine job and each song attracts the senses after couple of hearings. The words keep underlining the importance of relationships, of the people around you, of love.
The best lyrics for me came from the song ‘Tear You Up’. And as I write, I ended up discovering that band have released an unplugged version of this song. Have a hear and note the lyrics
And now I’m drifting on the open sea; What is left of me; And I keep dreaming of a distant shore; To a distant shore; What keeps calling out for me? It keeps calling out for me; What keeps calling out for me? It keeps calling out for me; I can’t tear you up; I cannot tear you up; All these currents run to you; Back to you’.
Hear acoustic version of ‘Tear You Up’
Yet the reason why I kept ‘Tear you Up’ at number two, is for the fact that ‘The Final thing on my Mind’ is a more ‘value for money and time product’. That song is like two terrific tracks clubbed into one. The first four minutes hooks you to the number, and after the 4th minute, it takes off to another level.
Your Wilderness Deluxe edition edition also has one 40 minute track (8 years later) which is essentially eight separate songs strung by a thread. For fans who don’t have the deluxe edition, do give a hear to this 40min track. I haven’t heard it enough yet so cant comment. On first impression it sounds like a steady rainfall of various instruments and sounds embedded in low lying lyrics. Track VII ‘Our Shelter’ from 29:50 seems a killer and Bruce Soord too generous to give 8 songs as complimentary!!! Take ‘Shelter’ in his generosity!
The Pineapple Thief ‘Your Wilderness’ – Track ‘8 Years Later’ (only found in Deluxe edition)
During initial weeks post release, I struggled to find lyrics of all the songs of this album. This is an important step in my music listening habits, I like going deep, testing the waters, reflecting on life through music. Unless the tune, lyrics and instruments haunt my senses, I seriously consider it a waste of resources. Hence I Googled for the lyrics. This website, musixmatch was probably the only one which had them, then; and I thank them. With love.
This isn’t your casual listening album, neither your fun mood songs. It’s an album to be played in solitude, during introspective moods, in sadness, in melancholy, during long drives, taking the train home, on chill rainy nights, while lying on the meadows facing the sun, with your loved ones, with love, when you want to be in your wilderness.
The Pineapple Thief are:
Bruce Soord – Vocals
Dan Osborne – Drums
Jon Sykes – Bass
Steve Kitch – Keyboards
Gavin Harrison – Guest Drummer for Your Wilderness
The Pineapple Thief (along with Gavin) are touring Europe between Jan 20th and Feb 11th. You can find their touring itinerary here .. and join them! Good music needs good fans.