Sunday, 30 May 2010

The Pineapple Thief - Someone Here Is Missing

Unfortunately very few people have heard of this band, but in my mind they fill stadiums.

The Pineapple Thief, initially a vehicle for main man Bruce Soord's solo work, have been going as a band proper since around 2002 (or around 3000 days, more of which later) and have released a number of fine albums leading to this, their most compelling work to date, literally hot offf the presses! Comparisons have been made to Radiohead, but luckily they lack that band's tendency to stray into pretentiousness. Even on TPT's longer songs the basic song-writing craft is never far from the surface. You can't ever imagine TPT doing an avant jazz album without actually knowing how to play jazz for starters.

Bruce's lyrical themes are similar in a way to Thom Yorke's - there's a lot of regret, obsession, and a sprinkling of paranoia, and if you're not one for melancholic lyrics don't be put off, as the music is often of an epic scale and lifts the whole thing to another level.

This great album kicks off with Nothing At Best - welcome to the pulsebeat - it rocks! This is one of the three standout tracks for me, and should be played at neigbour annoying levels!
The next track has an almost glam-like feel to it in places, and builds to a suitably intense climax.
The most satisfying track for me at the mo', given that I've only played the cd a few times so far, is Preparation For Meltdown, an epic of great electronica programming with a very noisy scratchy guitar chaos ending. Lovely.
Barely Breathing - Lighters aloft for a slower acoustic led number following the noise fest of the previous number.
Show A Little Love is an epic song of love and regret and storms along.
Another immediate favourite is 3000 Days, which is also the title of their must have career spanning compilation of a few months ago. This song is an epically (that word again) constructed stadium sized anthem, to the point where around two minutes from the end an almost Zep like riff crashes in. The neighbours are hammering on the walls by now.
The closer, So We Row (as in boat, not argument) is a slow burner and a good ending.

Now for some theorising. Throughout the album their are lyrical pointers that seem to suggest that Bruce Soord has, after over ten years of releasing music, come to a point where he might be feeling he's had enough. Lines like "And is. Is no-one listening" (title track), "I've been running around in circles, running into the ground.....We've barely found the time to waste our precious lives" (3000 Days) "I want to say how much I need just a break" (So We Row) suggest to me this is a man who's worn out trying.

I sincerely hope I'm wrong, and possibly a little paranoid. It would be a crying shame if this great band did not find the success they sorely deserve, especially when there's bland rubbish like Coldplay, etc out there dominating festivals and making the big buck.


4.5 out of 5

Here's a video montage of Someone Here Is Missing
Well folks, I can't do anymore! Oh, and go see them live if you get the chance....

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Taipuva Luotisuora - IV

Scandinavia has produced some fine prog influenced bands in recent times, Mew, Anekdoten, Hidria Spacefolk, Metrognom, Serena Maneesh, to name but five, as well as dozens of gravel throated metal bands of various genres - not my bag tho'.

From Finland, the land of the midnight sun and the world's highest suicide rate, and the pugilistic sport of naked seal thumping (I may have made that bit up) come the mighty instrumental spacerockers Taipuva Luotisuora - the band tell me the R is rolled. This, unsurprisingly, is their fourth album. The other three are near impossible to find, and indeed I have never managed to track down their third album TL II (not three!).

Their early albums contain a brand of heavy wig out space rock with quirky Finnish folk influences thrown in for good measure. TL I included the wonderfully titled "Music For Kortella Space Hood Elevators". TL IV issued in 2009 finds the band in a slightly more mellow reflective mood, and some of the tracks sound kind-of loungy, a definite shift in direction. The set opens with Kuuvuori a more traditional sounding number, dominated by a Sabbath-like chugging riff, and a modernistic Porcupine Tree influence. The Army Of Isopods has some nice synth work and some good rockin' riffing, bubbles along nicely. The intro and revisited refrain to Capricious Bonfire (they do have a great way with titles doncha think?) reminds me of The Cure. There's even a vibes break in the middle of this one - this album is definitely much more laid back than previous efforts, but I like it a lot.

Ilman Rihlan Kiertämää opens with woodwind and violin - mmmmm nice. The laid back theme continues, the moody atmosphere builds. I think they may have been listening to Anekdoten, which is no bad thing. Muting Glow - more flowing synths and some accoustic picking, leading to riffing. Imaginary Blizzard is more of the same. Kvasikonforminen Äyriäinen is more in the vein of their earlier works but not as frantic. The track Hopeful Sprout (I'm sure they don't mean an optimistic vegatable hated by children!) is classical in the way it gently builds on a theme - great stuff! The album closer Kurki is spacerock spectacular, as one would expect. Bonza!

This album is no headbanger like earlier efforts but is a more mature work and has some good melodic ideas running through it. A definite grower.

Line up:

Esko Grundstrom - keyboards & kantele & woodwinds
Ville Eriksson - guitars
Juha Eriksson - bass
Taneli Korpinen - drums
Tero Pajunen - violin,percussion,voice
Jani Puistovaara - guitars

4 out of 5

2019, the insanity grows...

Odd title for an annual music review, but them's the times. With these words I aim to provide you with an escape from the creeping madne...