Artists | Issues | CD Reviews | Interviews | Concert Reviews | DVD/Video Reviews | Book Reviews | Who We Are | Staff | Home
Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Pineapple Thief

10 Stories Down

Review by Josh Turner

This album surprised me. I felt earlier works lacked content and the production might have been a little shaky. It was okay back then, but this album brings the group to a new echelon of quality. To put it bluntly, this is extremely good material. The release reminds me of another band with the exact same acronym (that would be Porcupine Tree for those who require direction). It has a solid foundation with much thought put into the architecture, implementation, and design. Altogether, they've laid down a solid foundation and built a strong production on top of it. They just don't manufacture them any tougher. After just one walkthrough, maybe even a glimpse from afar, you'll want to immediately reserve your spot in this luxurious, but unusually resilient high-rise.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
Prey For Me
Right from the reception, it seems as if we've stumbled upon Porcupine Tree's In Abstentia. It's a real attention-getting opener. Then it goes off in a more contemporary direction. This baby coos to the calm melodies of Goo Goo Dolls' "Name" and shakes its rattle to the angst-ridden rock of Bush's "Comedown." There is also a hint of Matthew Sweet in its formula. This is as good with the parents as it is with the children, mostly because the harmonies are mild-mannered, content, happy, and coherent. The guitars are gentlemanly, but varied, resulting in an authentic down-to-earth personality. There isn't much in this song that's not to like, which makes it the ideal start to the album.
While there's nothing radically different in its gears, they've shifted their pole position slightly. This one takes a backseat to the extravagant numbers previously encountered and found later on. It putters around the same course as the pre-qualifier, but takes it at a more relaxed pace. Therefore, it's a clever reenactment of the last race. During the contest, sullen and solicitous lyrics are being broadcast all around. There is less rock candy in the tub, though there are even more of Matthew Sweet's saccharine-coated suckers to be dispersed. I'm convinced the list of influences contain the caged up creatures from Dr. Moreau's island of the Altered Beast. As an added twist, the bridge is darker and more depressing than the enlightened rest. At this point, it satisfies the hunger pangs with a satisfactory snack. The appetizer is served with tortilla chips and a bowl of Gazpacho filled with Little Blue Crunchy Things.
Wretched Soul
It's always timing and if you make a mistake, there's hell to pay. Like the General Lee, this takes an impossible jump, setting itself down in the rough and rocky terrain of Audioslave. It's a mix between the balladic, raging, and the sublime. While it can be as subdued as The Moody Blues, it's as angry as Nirvana in numerous places. After the grunge and grime is removed from the body, they dip their dirty plans in detergent and give it a thorough rinse. With the completion of their delivery, the trunk is empty, but it's ready and waiting for another load of precious moonshine. This is my favorite song on the album as it coasts, cruises, and takes us on an adventurous spin. The chorus is a cut above the balance, keeping the wheels in alignment. Most of the time, it's as busy as Frankie Goes to Hollywood, but there are times it's as forward as the Foo Fighters. While it's worked on in the garage, it's certifiably commercial. There are moments where it's as basic as George Thorogood's "Bad to the Bone", but that only lasts for an instance. In a jiffy, it is lubed and ready to rock down to Eddy Grant's "Electric Avenue." Tom Morello's guttural technique is also in there, giving this sick trick pony an unhindered exhaust and an excess in horsepower. It comes stocked with all these options and as a matter of fact, the alterations are actually quite progressive. If their mainstream intentions restrict them from being bonded, let this only be probationary. All you'll need is this song to cancel out your qualms and sell you on their services.
The World I've Always Dreamed Of
This track is under the control of a domineering sect of synthesizers. It's true intentions flank those of Chroma Key. The keyboards take over the renovation and in the process knock out a supporting wall. The ramparts reverberate with a metallic clang. Next door, pots and pans quickly fall to the floor. After the reconstruction, the synthesizers monopolize the symphonic space. As for the singers, they engineer sophisticated harmonies with one voice front and center and a second situated way, way in the back. This song features many thoughtful chord progressions, which makes it quite appealing. Eventually, the guitars surface with a series of contemplative riffs. They penetrate with the prickly sensation of The Thorns and incorporate an intelligent outline with Owlsley's blissful blueprints. In order to mount the frame, they use an intriguing set of swanky strings and sound effects. The keyboard melodies, on the other hand, are begot from the loins of John Beck. The woodwork is provided by The Carpenters and the oil paintings are hung by The Rembrandts. The list goes on and on. Never fear, I hear even more accessible influences like Matchbox 20 and Everclear in there. While the cartridges might not work on Nintendo, Xbox, or Playstation, they are surely compatible with "So Long, Astoria" by The Ataris. After moving away from the drudgery of commonplace apartment living, it's a scheduled rendezvous over to the real estate agent's office. Offering their assistance, the bodacious BoDeans accompany the broker and the conference over the contracts occurs by way of "Breakfast at Tiffany's." In case you don't already know, this spread was catered exclusively by Deep Blue Something. 
Start Your Descent
It might be small, but the Men in Black expose an infinite staircase to heaven hidden within the globe. After unhinging the trapdoor to this universe, we begin our climb down a couple shorter flights of stairs. This happens to be the first in a series of upscale ballads. It's like one of Sugarbomb's softer pieces, but it's not as bombastic as Bully. When pushed, it snitches and turns in the intimidator. As a result, it's a genuine article for Wave America and their "Posterchild for Tragedy". I also find Josh Mayer and RPWL's Crazy Lane referenced in the packet. To bribe the kiddies, it plucks a flawless fruit from the basket of a seemingly harmless Simon Apple and hastily hands it over. During the persuasion, the violins play a tune that's reminiscent of Robbie Steinhardt from Kansas. The tranquil persona of Iona is another influence that's easy to perceive once you get with the program.
My Own Oblivion
It's Evanescence injected with the male hormone and it's fallen victim to gene manipulation. After the transformation, it's closer to Lemon's Change Into Me. It's derivative of Rage Against the Machine, Live, Collective Soul, and Caroline Spine. To give it pizzazz, there is actually a pinch of Red Hot Chili Peppers in the concoction. Before you swallow it down, you might need to sign a release form. I also hear Marilyn Manson, Gravity Kills, and Stabbing Westward in this sultry song. It's uncanny how it covers this eclectic range, yet cowers in the comfort zone. It never gets too zesty nor does it hold back on the heat. The toxic juices barely touch the taste buds, but it's enough to wake up the tongue. If you decrement by one and go down a single story, you come across Nine Inch Nails "Closer." The animal of this tenant has a voracious appetite, quickly polishing off the leftovers. With Rob Zombie as its trainer, it's truly tempted to bite the hand that feeds.
It's Just You and Me
This is another perverse mix. I hear Ray Wilson's "The Actor" over the tenuous trapeze wires of Opeth's "Damnation." The drummer skedaddles along like Porcupine Tree's previous sticks man, Chris Maitland. During all this depression, the guitars find time to make jovial gestures and cheer us up.
The Answers
When reprising Humpty Dumpty's sad story, it tries to the put the broken pieces back together. It takes the chorus that's so good earlier on and incorporates it in a muted manner. This time it's accompanied by an acoustic guitar and a succession of string arrangements. It's not as verbose about its opinions or as wordy about its advice. There seems to be a change in attitude and temper upon the arrival of its latest revelations. The answers aren't important, but it's hard to let go. It's crucial to stay the course as the coping will ultimately lead for resolve. With patience, it's possible and promising to rekindle the intimate relationship with the Redhead from Bleu.
From Where You're Standing
You'll contract a communicable disease as soon as it fills your lungs. When that happens, this catchy ailment will steal your last breath. The cogs creak like the spokes in a caboose that's coupled with a crazy train. In this power pop, I hear The Churchill's, Tom Petty, and Spiraling squeak from the rails as this freight car is aggressively forced down the track. As soon as it settles down, RPWL reappears once again in the wrap-up.
Light Up Your Eyes
This is the first half of the fifteen minute epic. It toils around the living room for a while, entertaining guests with lush and sweeping passages. Organs squish through the lava lamp and really lighten up the mood. It's so elated during the upsurge that endorphins are sure to swell inside the noggin. Eventually, it works its way back to the front door and goes outside for a stroll.
Once beyond the repressed memories, the reality is accepted and it's come full circle. This is bittersweet and benevolent, using many familiar themes from bygone bits. However, it's unconventional from what we've encountered earlier on. The frame of mind is just right. It's neither excessive nor benign. The singer chants and hums where verses were at one time expected. In the segue, I hear Transatlantic's "We All Need Some Light" in the acoustic guitars that are planted. Just when it seems the tank is empty and the engine oil is burning, it still manages to keep the momentum going. Doctors work hard to revive the patient. The drill bores into the beat with the skill of arthroscopic tool. While it's precise, it's also a little messy. All is not as it seems at Kingdom Hospital. This stylish horror gets graphic at times, but with enough distance, there is finally relief from the misery. After they repair the most fractious fragments, it's time for the surgeons to take a load off, relax, board a plane, and go on vacation. Following the heartfelt portions of the first, this is the superfluous second helping. It might seem that putting another long song at the end is inappropriate and disproportionate, but the extra dessert is more than justified. While there isn't a bad cut carved from the pie, out of the last two, this is the slightly bigger and better piece. When you see the penthouse suite, you'll realize it's well worth the assessment fee. By itself, this is a great effort by a band, but to add to that, they show a tremendous amount of improvement from their past installments. It's more than a step. Actually, I'd say it's closer to 10 stories tall.  

You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
More CD Reviews
Metal/Prog Metal
Progressive Rock

   Creative Commons License
   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

    © 2024 Music Street Journal                                                                           Site design and programming by Studio Fyra, Inc./