Pineapple Thief, The - Variations On A Dream - Ltd. Edition

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Cyclops
Catalog Number: CYCL 129D
Format: CD
Total Time: 129:58:00

Hail the thief! Bruce Soord and his comrades known as Vulgar Unicorn offspring Pineapple Thief surely must have nicked the soul and spirit of Coldplay, Radiohead, Elbow and Sabyia in order to deliver one of the best alternative rock records in years! In authentic British humoristic style, Bruce says ?if I could sell 1% of the Radiohead sales then I could retire!? But all humour aside, he?s right in that nothing concerns the music itself anymore, but it all comes down to marketing. The Pineapple Thief marketing for this album, however, is not a bad catch, as the band offers one thousand limited editions to their fans by including an extra album with brand new material. These extra tracks have been recorded in only one week and only have the date and sometimes also the time as the only information, with the guarantee that these recordings will never ever again be released once this initial batch of 1000 copies has dried up! And at the time of this writing, only 90 copies remained, so chances to get your filthy paws on one of those 2CD editions is as unlikely as David Beckham playing for Folkestone. You never know of course, so keep praying! The 2CD package only has the letter D behind the catalogue number. That?s the only clue you get so you need to have sharp eyes!

But let?s focus on the actual album first. Ten brand new songs with as always as little information as possible. All we know is that everything you hear comes from the mind of Bruce Soord. To be honest with you, from now on you can call this guy Bruce "the genius" Soord! "We Subside" begins with a repetitive synthesized bassoon, which could be compared with Karda Estra, but then Bruce?s unique voice sets in, followed in it?s footsteps by drums, turning this into one hell of a pop song. The way Soord adds strings makes it the kind of material we all will cherish for a long time. Same pattern where "This Will Remain Unspoken" is concerned, that, due to its acoustic guitar, tends to have some Pink Floyd moments. Experimental synth sounds during the intro of "Vapour Trails" changing towards yet another perfect pop format is the kind of material that turned Radiohead into superstars. A similar kind of approach switching the unexpected towards the pure acceptable is what the uptempo "Run Me Through" is all about. Once again a wall of strings backs perfect timing, wonderful melodies and out of this world guitar playing. My knees are turning into jelly! Someone get me an ambulance. Quick!

With "The Bitter Pill" the band illustrates that you don?t need a gigantic arrangement to make a big impression. All they use here is a piano but the melody and the intensity is enough to grab you by the balls and never let go before the song is fully over. The beauty of that piano can be compared to Chopin or Ravel, if you like, simple but oh so effective! The same can be said of the classical introduction to "Sooner Or Later" and what a pity this band can?t use a real orchestra, because it would be so much more powerful. But the intention is there, the will to progress, the ears for outstanding compositions. The rest is only a matter of luck and perfect timing. "Part Zero" contains a more aggressive guitar whilst those strings still remain in the background. "Keep Dreaming" has that "Karma Police" element inside without turning into blatant plagiarism, turning the rhythm a little slower. Wonderful how the choir sound of the mellotron blends with kind of Salvation Army brass and the acoustic bass. The actual album ends with the epic "Remember Us," a 16 minute musical orgasm fuelled by repetitive guitars, both acoustic and electric. Guitars that suddenly switch towards experimental noises surrounded by dark, low bassoon noises and other synthesized brass. Acoustic guitar then sets the pace for kind of a second movement which backed by a fierce rhythm contains some Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark kind of synths making way for a danceable atmosphere. The guitar solo right at the very end is one of the best I?ve heard in a long time, coming to an abrupt ending as if someone struggling for life suddenly gives it all up and dies. The mystery of life and death contained in a couple of guitar chords! Magic!

And now on to the bonus disc 8 Days which also sports ten brand new compositions and, as said before, is only available to the first one thousand purchasers of the new album. Maybe this illustrates that Pineapple Thief are not that ambitious after all, because 1000 copies seems very little if you want to conquer the world! Maybe they?ll change their mind one day and release this bonus material separately after all? The clever ones amongst you might spot a small mistake on the print on the disc. This says that the material was written between Sunday 3rd November and Sunday 9th November. Of course the latter should read 10th November as there are still seven days in a week even in Pineapple Thief land! On two occasions (9th and 10th) two songs were written, bringing the total to 10 songs in 8 Days. In most cases a computervoice tells you what day of the week it is so when you close your eyes you manage to cover a whole week in less than an hour! The opening track is a very interesting composition with several rhythm breaks and great accompanying hooks. In a way it has some Orb influences turning it into a stupefying ride. One of my favourite instruments, the Fender Rhodes, makes its entrance on ... "Monday"! Urban noises are mixed between the songs so to give it the feel of one ongoing experience, recorded on the spot. Probably one of the best commercial songs the band has ever written is "Tuesday 5th November 2002." If this was given a proper single release with the right financial backing then this would certainly end high in the charts. A hit if ever I heard one! "Wednesday" gets a very solemn approach by means of the keyboards arrangement. "Thursday" gets the "repetitive acoustic guitar" treatment sung in a "hazy" way by Bruce and also featuring "distorted mandolin" (or is it bouzouki?). On "Friday" the band not only cleans their recording booth (you bet they do) but also welcomes the weekend by delivering an energetic song filled with distorted guitars and the repetition of the word "six" (it was indeed their sixth day of recording! but three times 6 after one another results in a devilish thought as well!). Towards the end it contains some nice, inventive guitar work, steering the song into a more experimental direction. The first song on "Saturday" is a short acoustic instrumental kind of to introduce the new day. The second song is much more alive putting kind of a heartbeat into it all. Replace the synth by piano and you almost certainly get a Coldplay original. Similar to "Saturday," "Sunday" also starts with an instrumental, rather ambient first part which gets injected by a fierce rhythm as time evolves. An ambulance in the distance introduces the final part of the band?s excursion. Again this is more of a "real" song structured by means of acoustic guitar and strings. As throughout the entire album and bonus disc Bruce Soord?s distinctive vocals give the music a special charm, an exclusive stamp that only reads ?Pineapple Thief?. It?s the kind of song that can enlighten an entire field filled with enthusiastic music fans the world over, firmly holding on to their burning lighters. Whilst the Moody Blues tackled one day for their acclaimed Days Of Future Passed album, Pineapple Thief took a whole week as subject for their bonus disc. Just like the Moodies it enabled them to take on different atmospheres as everyday is different.

So is Pineapple Thief prog? If prog to you is the abbreviation for progression then it definitely is prog, but for the Mojo public let?s simply keep it at being "damn good superb alternative rock." Someone said that music is more effective than the most powerful anaesthetic. I have to confess it?s true. This new Pineapple Thief material moved me to tears. Tears because of the injustice in the music industry, an industry that keeps pushing forward Barbie-type singers singing (?) spoonfed material. The listener at home thinks he/she hears all there is to hear whilst maybe in their entire life they will hear just one percent of what?s on offer. Due to that attitude of the music industry REAL talent will one day go wasted whilst untalented people will be able to afford a 10 million dollar mansion and retire when they?re 22. That same industry is also complaining that things are going bad, that MP3 is killing music. NO!!! It?s the industry who killed music by not giving REAL music a fair chance! So I will do everything in my power to give these guys the recognition they truly deserve. Variations On A Dream is my definite Album of the Year 2003. No doubt noone can beat the 11 out of 10 I?m giving it! [or on our scale, a 6/5 ?ed]
Disc One: We Subside (4:58) / This Will Remain Unspoken (3:27) / Vapour Trails (8:31) / Run Me Through (4:43) / The Bitter Pill (4:35) / Resident Alien (4:14) / Sooner Or Later (3:59) / Part Zero (7:28) / Keep Dreaming (4:21) / Remember Us (16:04)

Disc Two: 3rd November 2002 (5:49) / 4th November 2002 (5:58) / 5th November 2002 (4:34) / 6th November 2002 (5:31) / 7th November 2002 (7:20) / 8th November 2002 (7:15) / 9th November 2002 14:11 (4:09) / 9th November 2002 21:16 (4:54) / 10th November 2002 Somewhere In The Morning (5:54) / 10th November 2002 14:20 (5:36)

Bruce Soord - guitars, vocals, keyboards
Adrian Soord - mellotron, Fender Rhodes, Hammond, piano, synths
Nick Lang - drums, cymbals
Mark Harris - electric & acoustic bass

Abducting The Unicorn (1999)
137 (2002)
Variations On A Dream (2003)
Variations On A Dream - Ltd. Edition (2003)
4 Stories Down (ep) (2005)
10 Stories Down (2005)

Live 2003 (2004) (DVD+CD)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: August 24th 2003
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg
Artist website:
Hits: 1244
Language: english


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