The Pineapple Thief frontman Bruce Soord is releasing his first real solo album on Kscope, the label that is known for its typical kind of progressive rock releases. Steven Wilson, Katatonia, Anathema and many others have reached out to the world under the wings of this British label. Just like the mentioned bands Bruce Soord's band The Pineapple Thief produces the other kind of progressive rock, the kind I personally love to listen to. On his eponymous debut album Bruce is only accompanied by Godstick's Darran Charles on guitar, everything else you hear is either played, programmed or sung by Soord himself.
Bruce's album is filled with ten songs, all smooth and intimate. Sometimes referring to the softer side of TPT and heavily acoustically based with lots of programmed sounds and fine electric lead and solo guitar parts by Darran. Album opener is the song Black Smoke; minimalistic and just piano and programmed sounds added with Bruce's intense vocals. A song strongly reminding me of Steven Wilson's solo compositions. Strangely the following songs also have similarities with Steven Wilson's music, although in another direction. Buried Here takes you to the music of Blackfield, including Aviv Geffen's vocals; pleasant to listen to. The Odds has a more poppy feel, I guess the funky rhythm guitar and programmed drums are responsible for that. Not a song that sticks, but the short bluesy guitar solo sounds great. When the album continues we are treated by nice compositions, absolutely nice to listen to, but in a way they are not able to really keep me focussed. Fantastic to play in the background, but they tend to make my mind wander away from the music I am listening to. Nevertheless both parts of Field Day are pretty awesome; brilliant minimalistic songs with a hunch of Porcupine Tree's music over them. Familiar Patterns also is something special, here Bruce gently moves towards Steven Wilson's music on his last album, but because of the (perhaps) lack of diversity in the album's music, this song might be overheard in its beauty.
With his solo album Bruce Soord kept his music pretty close to himself and I totally respect the smoothness and minimalistic approach, but I do like some power sometimes that lightens things up. Now we have a super album with fantastic songs, but in a way some of them stick to me as pure background music. On the other hand Bruce Soord's album keeps returning to my CD player, because the music does intrigue me in some way. I guess it's an album that needs time to grow on you.
***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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