The Pineapple Thief – Give It Back: Album Review

The Pineapple Thief revisit some of their back catalogue in a rework, remodel, retake type situation.

Release Date: 13th May 2022

Label: Kscope

Format: digital / CD / vinyl

How important is one man to a team? Where would Manchester United be without the goals of Cristiano Ronaldo this season? How important is one man to a band? The Pineapple Thief has always been under the steady stewardship of Bruce Soord but the appointment of Gavin Harrison to the drum stool back in 2017 was a masterstroke. A great band became a really great band with the addition of his experience and talent gleaned from years of playing with the likes of Porcupine Tree and King Crimson. The Pineapple Thief came up smelling of roses with the bargain of the season. We might talk of star players and all that; fantasy football teams and stuff, but when it comes to fantasy bands, Gavin could well be one of the first names on the teamsheet. He’s probably ace at footy too.

Enough of the football guff though; Give It Back is a prime example of the way he works. Not content to play his part with the new material and learn a few songs for the setlist, he’s the sort who does a job properly. And then some. Bruce Soord: “Gavin went through the entire TPT back catalogue and picked out some songs he felt we could revisit. As soon as I heard what Gavin was doing, it inspired me to completely rework the songs too.” Strip back the plaster to the bare brick and rebuild.

Songs that have been on the shelves with the recent albums getting more interesting, are revitalised and credit for dipping way back and deep into the library – Mr Harrison is nothing if not thorough. Wretched Soul kicks off in a heavy vein and closing the eyes it could easily be a stadium filling Muse track in much the same way that 137 conjures the same vibe. It sets the scene for a series of TPT moments which might jog a few memories and which will also have the deeper fans taking the band to task for good and for bad. Some appear close-ish to the original while others have undergone a more contemporary transition; a natural progression if you will.

There’s an emphasis, not unsurprising, on nudging those drum faders a little higher so we can appreciate a Harrison masterclass in the drumwork and in arrangements that appear a little more stark and sparse. Dead In The Water might be the first of the rediscovered gems – a most accessible number with a sweet melody in the second half of the piece. Indeed, if there’s a theme, it’s of restaint and subtlety although the title track offers a hefty blast along with the blatant funk on Warm Seas; fiery Art Rock with a ever so faint whiff of Pop rather than progressive-alt -Metal. Blame King Crimson/Robert Fripp for the Harrison restlessness.

Yes, Gavin’s touch and arranging has added something to The Pineapple Thief past and present. While acknowledging his genuine all round greatness, let’s not forget that TPT is first and foremost a band. With the recent acclaim for Your Wilderness, Dissolution and versions Of The Truth, it’s worth taking a moment to think about using Give It Back to rediscover the back catalogue of The Pineapple Thief and the songwriting of Bruce Soord. A two way door

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