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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Pineapple Thief


Review by Gary Hill

On the one hand you can't argue with the musical genius of The Pineapple Thief. This album upholds their tradition of quality. The thing is, it doesn't reach the level Someone Here is Missing did. It's not that there is any weak material here, because there isn't. It's just that a lot of it is rather predictable for anyone who is familiar with their catalog. Now, don't take that as a big criticism, though. Even predictable Pineapple Thief is better than a lot of bands' most creative stuff. Besides that, there are a few songs that really do reach some serious greatness. The problem is, once you've created a masterpiece like Someone Here is Missing, it's hard to top it. This is a solid effort in that direction.

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Track by Track Review
Not Naming Any Names
Piano and voice open this cut and move it forward in style. This is mellow, moody and cool.
Try as I Might
They bring this into being with more of a rocking kind of vibe. The cut works forward from there. This has some cool modern prog tendencies and a good balance between mellower and more rocking stuff. It has some tasty hooks, too. There are King's X comparisons that can be made at times, too.
Threatening War
Coming in sedate and quite gentle, there is a really pretty vibe to this as it starts. There are some intriguing guitar hooks on this opening section along with some great vocal ones. The cut fires out into some rocking stuff after that movement plays through. Then it drops back after soaring for a return to the previous section. Mid-track it reaches a peak and we get a false ending. Then a keyboard texture brings it back in and a new movement starts to build outward from there. As they power it up it gets quite hard rocking and heavy. It eventually makes it back to earlier themes as they continue to drive onward. This is one of the highlights of the set, a dynamic and powerful cut.
Uncovering Your Tracks
Moody modern prog opens this, and the cut works forward based on that concept. It shifts toward more rocking with a lot of energy from there.  There are some seriously crunchy moments, and the cut again does a great balancing act between rocking and mellower movements.       
All That You've Got
Coming in harder rocking and dramatic, this is a cool cut. Rather than dropping to mellower (as you might expect it to do) it soars even higher into the rocking end of the spectrum as it works onward. This is a killer cut that is among the best here. It has such great instrumental work and intriguing changes. Yet they don't sacrifice the vocal hooks and magic to achieve it. It ends rather abruptly.
Far Below
The song proper on this is another typical Pineapple Thief soaring rocker, but the instrumental section really powers into some killer territory. It's very hard rocking and really drives with a lot of intensity.
Pillar of Salt
This is a short piece (less than a minute and a half). The guitar and voice motif that makes it up this has an almost folk rock kind of element. Of course, it still has that moody modern prog texture one expects from this act, too.
White Mist
While this has more energy and a more full arrangement than the previous cut did, it's still on the mellow side as it starts. After the first vocal movement it begins to gain energy and intensity building outward with some progressive rock magic. The balance between mellower and more rocking sections is again quite good. As you expect from these guys the hooks are solid, too. Around the three and a half minute mark (this is over eleven minutes long)  it drops to a very mellow movement. They work it upward from there as they continue. As you might expect from a song this long, it has quite a bit of range and a lot of evolution. There are some particularly potent movements, and this is definitely a highlight of the disc. The instrumental movement after the six and a half minute mark is real powerhouse. I really love the guitar sound that dances over the top around the nine and a half minute mark. They build this to a peak and then bring it down with a dramatic mellower segment that has some killer distorted guitar. That element ends the piece.
Shed a Light
Acoustic guitar sounds open this, and the vocals come over the top. They create a tasty mellower motif for the opening movement. Around the two minute mark it powers out to some smoking hot harder rocking material to move it onward. After that works through, they drop it back down for another mellow and moody section for the next vocals. A melodic, harder rocking movement emerges after that part of the piece. It's an instrumental jam that rises up and delivers some killer melodies and textures. 
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