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British proggers collaborate with Porcupine Tree’s Gavin Harrison on their 12th studio album, due out on Kscope this summer.
The Pineapple Thief, along with recent additions Gavin Harrison (King Crimson, Porcupine Tree) and Darran Charles (Godsticks), are nearing completion on the follow-up to 2016’s Your Wilderness. It’s set to be called Dissolution and mainman Bruce Soord says he’s delighted with the experience of collaborating with Harrison on the songwriting.
He tells Prog, “With Your Wilderness, the songs were all ready, so Gavin was pretty much a session guy. Our relationship developed on the two tours we did together, so this time it was very much a collaboration from day one.
“The relationship I have with Gavin creatively has had a huge impact. We jammed the songs from the start, which has given the album an exciting direction. It’s almost like Your Wilderness was a blueprint.”
Harrison says of the process, “Bruce might start something on acoustic guitar and send it over in a very rough fashion. He’d encourage me to chop the arrangement into whatever I thought might be better. I think I’ve got a pretty good ear for arranging; I might write a different middle or suggest a different section – maybe just drums without anything else on – that
I think could work.”
Soord recalls, “The worst bit of starting an album is the start, because you know what a long hideous journey it is.”
He came up with a “little idea” that became first track Shed A Light – “maybe a verse and a chorus with no vocals, and Gavin took it, chopped it around, jammed out some drum sections and it was, ‘Wow!’ When you have a partnership like that it’s almost a chain reaction.”
Working songtitles also include Try As I Might, Uncovering Your Tracks, and Not Naming Any Names. Says Soord, “The album is broadly about the breakdown of social fabric, and how the wonderful new things we have in our lives, like Facebook, have done the opposite to what they set out to do. Dissolution is not a solution, and it’s a dissolving.”
Soord accepts the concept is “pretty negative,” and adds, “The things I’ve witnessed have had such an awful outcome. There’s always light; it’s never a uniquely negative and dark record, but it doesn’t paint a nice picture.”
Harrison notes, “It’s not so literal in the lyrics; it’s got some ambiguity. They’re a bit cryptic, as with so many songs that I like. Apart from Earth, Wind And Fire, most people don’t write uplifting songs – with Porcupine
Tree, the dark, sad songs were the most popular. People like wallowing in strife and trouble!”
Both of them select the 11-minute White Mist as the flagship moment. “It’s almost three songs in one,” Harrison says. “It encapsulates the way we all seem to have clicked together.”
TPT’s upcoming UK tour, which sees them playing their biggest show at London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on October 6, will showcase the new unity between Soord, Harrison, Charles, bassist Jon Sykes and keyboardist Steve Kitch.
“We were all pulling in the same direction,” the drummer says. “We’d do it over WhatsApp, with a thread going for each song, but so far there have been no confrontational disagreements.”
Asked whether Harrison and Charles are now full-time members, Soord confirms, “Gavin’s completely involved. We work around his schedule with King Crimson and that seems to work. Darran’s contributed loads of great guitar work and although it’s not something we ever discussed, this is just how it all settled in.”
For the full list of The Pineapple Thief’s live shows and more, visit their official website at www.pineapplethief.com. MK
BRUCE SOORD PUTS THE FINISHING TOUCHES TO DISSOLUTION. “This time it was very much a collaboration from day one.” FIVE HEADS ARE BETTER THAN THREE! GAVIN HARRISON (FAR LEFT) HAS NOW OFFICIALLY JOINED THE PINEAPPLE THIEF.