The Pineapple Thief: Someone Here is Missing
I was a fan of bands like Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Smashing Pumpkins back in the ’90s, but I never thought of combining that sound with prog. The Pineapple Thief has a better imagination because that is exactly what they have been doing since 2001. I had heard of them but never took the time to investigate until I was absolutely blown away by their live performance at NEARfest 2010. Getting their latest release was the next logical step.
Sometimes when you are introduced to a band live, the studio work pales in comparison. Definitely not the case with “Someone Here is Missing.” This is not to say that both are identical. Live is all about the energy, and the studio is where subtle intricacies have a chance to shine. Actually this album has both in spades.
The Pineapple Thief pulls off something of a magic act by composing hook laden heavy rock with elements of techno jam band (ala Ozric Tentacles), and a progressive sensibility. A band like this could slide prog past the mainstream listeners without them even realizing it. There have also been many comparisons made to Radiohead, Porcupine Tree and Smashing Pumpkins. I get the Pumpkins aspect, but the only Radiohead I see is a similarity Thom Yorke’s vocal style. I often even get a Muse feel from some of the songs.
So yes, there are familiar sounds, but when it’s all put together the sound is their own. The swirling electronics and whispered vocals that begin “Nothing at best” lead into a frenzied fuzz guitar chorus. “Wake up the dead” would be almost danceable if it wasn’t so dark. Indie reigns on “The State We’re In.” “Preparation for Meltdown” sounds like it’s going to be pure techno until it starts changing from low interlude to metal jam (very prog). There is even a ballad called “Barely Breathing.” There is a bit of repetition, but the hooks keep my attention. The guys just seem to live in this realm where indie, grunge, jam and extended art flow continuously.
Now the prog purists may have a hard time with this one because it doesn’t really sound like what we are used to. The band even pulled back on the mellotron (prog’s most notable instrument) this time out. I could get into a discussion about what is or is not prog, but that isn’t what this review is about. What is important is what The Pineapple thief has done. The have created music of high quality and mass appeal. The casual listeners and people who long for complexity will all find satisfaction with “Someone Here is Missing.” This is a talented group of musicians and composers. I believe The Pineapple Thief still has more to offer. In other words, they haven’t done their masterwork yet. That does not however stop “Someone Here is Missing” from being one of the best releases of 2010.
Bruce Soord – guitar, vocals and programming
Jon Sykes – electric and acoustic bass, backing vocals
Steve Kitch – keyboards
Keith Harrison – drums and backing vocals