In their long and storied career, The Pineapple Thief have simultaneously proven to offer a consistently excellent catalogue and yet have maintained a mostly, near cult status of being under the radar. Having garnered critical acclaim since their inception in 1999 but never truly hitting commercial peaks of some of their peers, 2016 seemed to be a major step forward for them. The addition of guitarist Darran Charles and iconic drummer Gavin Harrison also seemed to light a greater fire in the band and in part led to career highlight album Your Wilderness (Kscope) and a resulting tour which included their biggest headline show to date at London’s Islington Assembly Hall. Recorded on that very night, Where We Stood shows one of Britain’s premier alternative/progressive bands in their strongest and most vibrant form to date.
Predominantly focused on the Your Wilderness album they were touring, Where We Stood’s set list is mostly composed of their shorter and immediate material from both that and previous album Magnolia (Kscope) and only treading lightly into prog rock territory. It’s such material that really shows how much Harrison and Charles have both bolstered the band’s sound and live presence, with Harrison making the most immediate impact; offering a much more dynamic drum range than the band have had before. Equally telling is how comfortable a partly new lineup is, and how it all looks to have gelled so quickly, with ringmaster Bruce Soord in particular looking like is having the time of his life. Performance wise the band cannot be faulted, with masterful renditions and Soord’s vocals pour with emotion and resonance throughout.
As a live recording, Where We Stood does an exemplary job of capturing the feel of the show; showcasing the beauty of the Assembly Hall, nailing down the sound and giving a polish without sanitising the live feel. Interluding throughout the set with short interview segments with Soord and band members is at first a surprising and a little irritating move, but in place of stage banter proves much more insightful into the band’s history, if feeling a little bolted on.
With a set built on much of their more accessible material, Where We Stood stands as the perfect entry point for new fans, with a sumptuous live documentation of the band on their best form, feeling precise yet still organic; whilst also showing that they are a band that are not only fully deserving of a larger audience, but are clearly destined for bigger stages than this in future.