Magnolia is already the tenth album of The Pineapple Thief, a band that I always found hard to label. Probably the reason why I do like their music; not letting themselves boxed into one genre. The Pineapple Thief walks a thin line between progressive rock, pop and alternative pop and several other types of music. With longer compositions referring to the first genre and the shorter mostly in the vein of bands like Radiohead and Muse. With Magnolia, I think The Pineapple Thief slightly walks away from the progressive genre in favour of their main influence; Muse.
Vocalist and guitarist Bruce Soord is still responsible for the music on the album and besides newcomer Daniel Osborne on drums his band remained the same. Steve Kitch plays piano and keyboards, while John Sykes takes care of the bass parts.
Like I said earlier, The Pineapple Thief's path has slightly bended towards the more poppy side of music, with compositions that, except for one, not by far reach the five minutes limit. Perfectly suitable for airplay, so to say. Perhaps the new path was chosen after the release of Bruce's side project Wisdom Of Crowds. So, poppy is what I write. Is this a bad thing? In case of Magnolia; far from. For me Magnolia is an album that regularly returns in my CD player and still keeps growing on me. The short compositions are filled with heart-warming vocals that are functional. It seems the compositions are stripped down to the basic form of the songs in a very effective way. For progressive rock fans, who like bands as Porcupine Tree; another band that gives some people mixed feelings, but I highly regard, they will notice some of their influences. But Muse is the main inspiration for Magnolia, to me Magnolia sounds like an improved version of Muse; more challenging, more passionate. I am not going into each song separately, but I do want to mention From Me as a example how The Pineapple Thief has grown. All compositions are well orchestrated, but never too over produced, you don't hear there is a real band playing. Just to be short, this is a perfect pop album, played by a real band without any fuzz.
What else can I say? I have seen The Pineapple play live in the past and ended up having mixed feelings, although liking their albums. Last year I attended a concert of Wisdom Of Crowds and went home disappointed, because of the short set and static stage performance of Jonas Renske. Writing this, it is almost Christmas, so let's forget the past. For me The Pineapple Thief has created a more than amazing album and I hope this “new” path takes them to higher grounds.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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