The Pineapple Thief - 'Your Wilderness'

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The Pineapple Thief - 'Your Wilderness'

Another excellent album from a band that has delivered more of them than most.

The path of fortune The Pineapple Thief has meandered has been a tough one to fathom. Humble beginnings as a home-grown Prog outfit growing to cult status before 'Tightly Unwound' and 'Someone Here Is Missing' saw Bruce Soord and the lads poised at the precipice of "big time". Soord suddenly appeared dissatisfied; two albums that ventured further and further into atmospheric Pop/Rock/Indie with Prog on the side followed, punctuated by Wisdom Of Crowds, an Electro-Prog project with Jonas Renske of Katatonia, and a more mainstream solo venture.

'Your Wilderness' therefore isn't so much a crossroads album but one which finds TPT slamming the gears firmly into reverse while, rather precariously, still refusing to look over their shoulder. The results feel intrinsically linked to both 'Someone Here Is Missing' (the last Prog-focused album) and 'Magnolia' (the least). Will it satisfy both the old and new followers of the band? Well, even with Soord proclaiming that he's "rediscovered my Progressive roots", I wouldn't bet my bottom dollar on it.

Don't take that to mean the latest TPT instalment isn't an enigmatic, introverted set of ambitious soundscapes – it is, and you can add beautiful and poised to that list. Ex-Porcupine Tree drummer Gavin Harrison lends his skills throughout, although on the opening 'In Exile' his busy tom and hi-hat display is so impressive that it's almost a distraction. Once we've got that out of the way, however, his musically percussive musings are a massive boon; his ability to leave space allows 'The Final Thing On My Mind' to become a mesmerising tension-filled but hugely accessible delight.

There are many highlights such as the moody and mellow 'Where We Stood' (with some sumptuous strings courtesy of Geoffrey Richardson of Caravan), 'Tear You Up' revealing a long missing aggressive bite, while the addition of clarinet from John Helliwell (Supertramp) on 'Fend For Yourself' is spine-tinglingly inspired.

Some will view 'Your Wilderness' as a real return to form from The Pineapple Thief, others may see it as a halfway house. In truth it's simply another excellent album from a band that has delivered more of them than most.

Steven Reid

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