THE PINEAP­PLE THIEF

Prog - - Limelight - DAVE LING

“W e’re go­ing to play quite a few songs from an al­bum that’s not out yet, so you can’t sing along even if you want to,” an­nounces Godsticks front­man Dar­ran Charles.

In fact, the Welsh band are brave enough to pretty much base tonight’s set upon their forth­com­ing fourth record, Faced With Rage, spit­ting out three newies in a row. Based on churn­ing metal riffs, the mu­sic is per­haps a lit­tle heav­ier than genre purists might pre­fer from a sup­port act. Songs such as Re­vere,

Guilt and Lack Of Scru­tiny are some­what bare in the hooks de­part­ment, but their Frip­pian so­los el­e­vate them from a sta­tus that could oth­er­wise be con­sid­ered medi­ocre.

Hav­ing be­gun life with a gig in a skit­tle al­ley just down the road from leader Bruce Soord’s house in Som­er­set, The Pineap­ple Thief have come a long way from ‘bed­room band’ sta­tus, and are now pop­u­lar enough to sell out mid­sized venues such as Is­ling­ton’s As­sem­bly Hall.

Quite why they’re back in Lon­don a mere nine months af­ter do­ing pre­cisely that, film­ing a mul­ti­me­dia DVD/Blu-ray pack­age on the night is a lit­tle be­yond Prog’s com­pre­hen­sion. How­ever, on one of the fi­nal warm Satur­day nights of the year, a packed-out ULU is buzzing for a last chance to hear the band’s cur­rent al­bum Your Wilder­ness in its en­tirety, plus a Face­book-voted trawl through the re­main­der of their 10 al­bums.

Just like la­bel­mates Godsticks, the head­lin­ers’ sound has an un­der­ly­ing heav­i­ness that doesn’t al­ways sit com­fort­ably with the more com­plex as­pects of their oeu­vre, though The Pineap­ple Thief boast a far su­pe­rior com­mand of melody and songcraft. They re­sist the temp­ta­tion to per­form Your Wilder­ness in its orig­i­nal run­ning or­der, while also adding its fi­nal track, Where We Stood, omit­ted last time out, to the setlist.

The pres­ence of Gavin Har­ri­son on Your Wilder­ness and as part of tonight’s line-up ex­plains a pro­lif­er­a­tion of Steven Wil­son T-shirts in the au­di­ence, but for the most part, the Por­cu­pine Tree/King Crim­son drum­mer reels in any pos­si­ble sense of show­boat­ing. This is fit­ting as Soord re­cently re­vealed that Har­ri­son is “up for do­ing the band’s next al­bum”, to be recorded once this tour is over. The best tune of the night is also the group’s proggiest – sur­prise, sur­prise!

– a 10-minute piece from Your Wilder­ness called The Fi­nal Thing On My Mind. The song closes the show proper, Har­ri­son’s drums go­ing off like can­nons dur­ing its eye-wa­ter­ing mid­sec­tion.

Re­turn­ing for a well-de­served two-song en­core, fea­tur­ing Snow­drops and Noth­ing At Best, this cor­re­spon­dent de­parts the ULU mus­ing upon a set that was un­doubt­edly en­joy­able, if some­times a lit­tle di­rec­tion­less.

“THERE’S AN UN­DER­LY­ING HEAV­I­NESS THAT DOESN’T AL­WAYS SIT COM­FORT­ABLY

WITH THE MORE COM­PLEX AS­PECTS OF THEIR

OEU­VRE.” UNIVER­SITY CHAL­LENGE: BRUCE SOORD ON STAGE AT THE STU­DENT UNION.

LOST IN YOUR WILDER­NESS:

SOORD FEELS THE VIBES.

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