Recent years have seen UK progressive art rockers The Pineapple Thief hit a sweet spot of a niche between explorative and catchy songwriting. With the likes of All The Wars and Magnolia leaning either side respectively, 2016’s Your Wilderness straddled both thresholds and resulted in their most successful album and, arguably at that point, their creative peak. Poised for their biggest European tour, both in terms of dates and venue capacities, their latest album, Dissolution (all Kscope), once again continues this trend.
Frontman and main songwriter Bruce Soord is a master of melding emotional weight with misleadingly subtle song structuring, and Dissolution holds a depth throughout isn’t immediately apparent. Album opener ‘Not Naming Any Names’ is as bare as it gets at two minutes with Soord’s arresting tones accompanied only by morose piano, which works as a striking and unexpected beginning. The following ‘Try As I Might’ ramps up with the full band at work, while still straddling that sombre line, with a middle pace and emotive, bleak chorus: the early stages of the album gradually building into the brace of ‘All That You’ve Got’ and ‘Far Below’ where matters feel more in line with the overtly guitar-rock orientated Magnolia album, before another shorter, minimalist and fragile passage in ‘Pillar Of Salt’.
It is in the closing two tracks that Dissolution is at its most experimental, from the eleven-plus minutes of ‘White Mist’ which builds from serene into more angular guitar work and frenzied drumming, and closer ‘Shed A Light’, which once again marries more chaotic aspects with cleaner, atmospheric bookends which evoke both melancholy and hopefulness as is one of the band’s calling cards.
The ascent of The Pineapple Thief in recent years has felt a long time coming and fully deserved, and Dissolution is both continuation and advancement on their recent output which has felt like the band finding a more definite soundscape. Being more subtle and gloomy than much of their previous work means this one doesn’t hit home quite as much at first, but it quickly grows with each listen to flower into one of their most captivating and rewarding efforts. As deep as it is accessible, The Pineapple Thief showcase more and more each time why they are such an important act in the British progressive scene.