Back in 2018, The Pineapple Thief released “Dissolution”, an album that I dislike to this day. The band is often inconsistent, so I had hope that their next release, “Versions of the Truth”, would be one that I could appreciate. The album releases on September 4th, and, unfortunately, it is something of a snore.
The band comes to us from the UK. The current line up is Bruce Soord on guitars and vocals, Steve Kitch on keyboards, Jon Sykes on bass, and Gavin Harrison on drums. This is Gavin’s third—yes, third—album with the band, and his presence continues to mean nothing.
I’ve been a TPT fan for over ten years. Albums like “Someone Here is Missing” and “All the Wars” are still near masterpieces in my book. However, in 2014, the band released “Magnolia”, an album that was as stale and uninspired as you can imagine. I accepted that bands of this status can’t always produced top tier offerings. Well, the band seemed to think the record was dull, too, as they shook things up and brought in the legendary Gavin Harrison for “Your Wilderness” in 2016. And what an album that was! The band had found their energy, emotion, and diversity again. With 2018’s “Dissolution”, the band returned to a leaden, lifeless format, and Gavin was left performing in a way that almost any amateur drummer could produce.
“Versions of the Truth” is a continuation of this monotony. At least on “Dissolution”, there were bright moments. With this album, from beginning to end, I can’t tell the difference between songs. Every single song has the same stuttering repetition of words and phrases. I guess Bruce calls them “choruses”. The verses that surround them are comatose and lack any sort of color. In fact, in the newest music video “Driving Like Maniacs” (in which no one drives like a maniac), Gavin looks bored out of his ever-loving mind! I think I even noticed him nod off halfway through the song.
The most infuriating thing about this album is that it actually is beautiful in a very base fashion. The melodies are “pretty”, I suppose, and Bruce has a good voice. I like his voice. For what it’s worth, Gavin’s cymbal work here is also great, as usual. The problem is that these are a foundation, and this album builds absolutely nothing on that. In fact, some of the songs seem like they are going to go somewhere, but then they just don’t. They finish with an anti-climax. Nothing ever rouses me, interests me, or wows me. Nothing at all.
And this isn’t just my opinion. With “Dissolution”, I received some heated feedback, but also received private messages from fans who agreed with me. I’ve already seen fans expressing disappointment with these new singles, as well, and I just want to caution everyone that the rest of the album is exactly more of the same. If you don’t like the singles, you won’t like the album. If you love the singles, then you must appreciate bland, personality-free music. These songs could literally have been composed and performed by any half-rate indie band in the world.
I have no favorites on this album. Not a single track stands out, although all of them are beautiful to some degree. This record is rather like background music that could help me focus on something else entirely. It doesn’t engage me in any way, whether intellectually or emotionally. If I absolutely were forced to choose a favorite song, it would probably be “The Mire”, the only song on the album that gets going with any sort of purpose. The guitars on it are nice, and Gavin is able to unleash himself ever so slightly more than on the other songs. It’s like a tease for what the band could be doing, but it ends up sounding like the weakest song on an actual good TPT album.
Look, I get it. “Dissolution”, if I remember correctly, was one of the band’s biggest records to date. It sold well and spawned a successful tour. I can understand why the band would want the follow-up to sound similar. At this point, though, I don’t think The Pineapple Thief are gaining more fans, only keeping the ones that refuse to admit that the band has lost something. And they are bleeding fans, like me, and I’m trying to decide if I’m even going to bother with the next record. I have no doubt, though, that this album will again sell well, and I wish the band all the best.
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