“Your Wilderness” has been hyped as the return to prog for The Pineapple Thief. I don’t get that exactly since I thought the last album, “Magnolia,” was not only really good but also plenty prog enough. Some of the songs on “Your Wilderness” are perhaps a bit bigger sounding and yes they benefit from having Gavin Harrison on drums. Most songs would. This is not to take away from Dan Osborne, who is a fine drummer. But Harrison is better than pretty much anyone out there.
The songs on “Your Wilderness” are exactly what I’ve come to expect from Bruce Soord and the Pineapple Thief. They are melodic, rich and powerful. It doesn’t matter if it’s a mellow moment or a louder moment, Soord writes powerful music. “In Exile” kicks things off well, with a memorable hook. “No Man’s Land” builds slowly but I think it either takes too long to build or just doesn’t let the rocking last long enough! The last part of the song is so damn good and I want more of Godsticks guitarist Darren Charles’ killer solo!!
“Tear You Up” uses Harrison’s powerhouse drumming and kicks some serious ass. “That Shore” is that moody, atmospheric vibe that The Pineapple Thief do so well. Great work by Steve Kitch who, along with rock solid bassist Jon Sykes, often gets overlooked thanks to Soord’s large profile. “Take Your Shot” is my current favorite track. Once again, the two big guest stars Harrison and Charles step up and deliver. This song just rips! Harrison’s fills recall his work with Porcupine Tree.
Supertramp’s John Helliwell guests on clarinet on “Fend For Yourself” which adds some added class to a nice track. The epic “The Final Thing on My Mind” is the big prog track, while “Where We Stood” serves as the perfect unwinding ending to yet another great album by The Pineapple Thief. Initially, I wasn’t overly impressed but I think I was expecting it to sound somehow completely different than the band have before. That’s just not the case and now that I’ve come to terms with that, I can really enjoy the subtle complexities of “Your Wilderness.”
The extra disc “8 Years Later” is the follow up to the “8 Days” and “8 Days Later” releases that came with “Variations of a Dream” and (for me) “12 Stories Down” respectively. Most people found “8 Days Later” coupled with “10 Stories Down,” which was the “official” release of that album. While “8 Years Later” has somewhat the same spirit of those other releases which were recorded in an 8 day span, it doesn’t quite measure up to those two, for me.
There are a few things that undermine “8 Years Later.” The songs themselves are okay, but between too many bird sounds, truck beeping noises and (worst of all) a beat sound on a few tracks that is usually on a rap album…it just doesn’t work for me. I really hate that fucking sound. So the problem is more the execution than the songs themselves.
While “Your Wilderness” isn’t what I would say is my favorite album by The Pineapple Thief, with time it could rank up there. There’s a lot of depth and character to this album. “8 Years Later” is a bit of a misfire but as more of a bonus disc, it’s not something I hold against the band at all. “Your Wilderness” is just another great album by a great band.
Rating: “Your Wilderness” 9/10, “8 Years Later” 6/10
1. In Exile
2. No Man’s Land
3. Tear You Up
4. That Shore
5. Take Your Shot
6. Fend For Yourself
7. The Final Thing On My Mind
8. Where We Stood
Bonus Disc: “8 Years Later”