REVIEW: The Pineapple Thief – Give It Back (Rewired)

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In 2016, the British post-proggers, THE PINEAPPLE THIEF, released their haunting eleventh studio album, “Your Wilderness,” featuring the former PORCUPINE TREE drum colossus, Gavin Harrison. He also returned behind the drumkit on the followup outing, “Dissolution,” 2 years later. Now, he is a solid, song-writing member of the band and has evidently helped the band gather momentum and greater success, what with his towering legacy in the drumming department. Founded already in the late 1990s, the band’s repertoire has a good number of songs, to which Harrison has been forced to adopt the approach introduced to him during his stint with KING CRIMSON by the prog maestro, Robert Fripp, himself; one should approach every song as if it were new, regardless of when it was written. So, with the blessing of the band, the drum legend developed his own take on some of the earlier material, sometimes reworking them a bit radically even for the purposes of finding enough original songs to play live. The founding father of the band, Bruce Soord, even went as far as encouraging the drummer to write whole new sections to incorporate into the older material. Now, these rearranged, reworked, and rewired versions saw the light of day in the form of a compilation album, released on May 13th, 2022, via Kscope records. The outing is not exactly a selected ”Best Of” record but rather an assortment of tunes that provided Harrison with tremendous inspiration to tweak them about a bit. The new album, titled “Give It Back (Rewired),” is a superb collection of re-recorded and reworked favorites, featuring new drum chops as well as new vocals and guitars from Soord.

Harrison‘s playing style is so unique that, at least for those who spent their early 2000s listening to Steven Wilson‘s musical endeavors, some of these new versions resonate with quite a strong PORCUPINE TREE vibe, with the most obvious candidate being “Dead in the Water.” The powerhouse drum performance kind of brings the song ”up to speed,” to better fit the band’s current, ultra-tight post-prog style. Other tracks that maintain a somewhat PT-like stance, songs such as “Last Man Standing” and ”137,” reach for other sonic realms too, sounding by turns remarkably atmospheric and edgy. Here and there, the ambient feel seems as though charged with an ominous twist, not that far from bands such as STORM CORROSION, which was (and still is?) like a musical valentine card to Scott Walker sent by Steven Wilson and Mikael Åkerfeldt.

Speaking of the OPETH frontman, the opening track on this compilation, the reworked version of “Wretched Soul,” comes off as a peculiar cross-breed of class-A atmospheric prog and prog-metal riffing channeling the ghost of OPETH‘s landmark album, “Blackwater Park.” The riffs punch hard but, nonetheless, fall rather nicely in line with the album’s overall atmospheric sound.

Yes, the signature feel on the outing is rather mellow; “Someone Pull Me Out” could be a COLDPLAY ballad and ”Start Your Descent” traverses deep in the ballad-y realm of outfits such as AIRBAG. The staccato, stop-and-go riffing on “Give It Back” and the serpentine motif on “Warms Seas,” in turn, add a nice punch to the sonic brew. Regarding the latter, I cannot avoid having a few pleasant RIVERSIDE and LUNATIC SOUL flashbacks here and there. Maybe it stems from the way those elastic, almost funky riffs plunge forward atop ambient soundscapes, while the vocal melodies follow the melancholy path. On occasion, the melodic twists and turns side-step to the somewhat Slavic sort of melancholy, with the late Finnish pop juggernaut, THE CRASH, at once popping to mind.

I couldn’t play drums even if my life depended on it, but I know a good one when I hear one. Harrison is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most creative and unique drummers to give a drumkit a run for its money. Now, as PORCUPINE TREE seems to be taking on a more pop-oriented tangent with their new lineup, almost as though becoming more in line with Wilson‘s solo endeavors, I’m kind of glad that Harrison has found himself a new band that does not fear to plunge headlong in the more progressive terrain. Despite the fact that THE PINEAPPLE THIEF was a very prolific prog outfit to begin with, the release of this peculiar compilation goes to show that their new drummer turned out to be a sort of vitamin shot in the arm. The only downside to listening to these rewired versions of our favorite TPT tunes might be, however, that they make you want to see the band perform live as soon as possible in a venue near you.

Written by Jani Lehtinen

Tracklist

  1. Wretched Soul (Rewired)
  2. Dead in the Water (Rewired)
  3. Give It Back (Rewired)
  4. Build A World (Rewired)
  5. Start Your Descent (Rewired)
  6. 137 (Rewired)
  7. Shoot First (Rewired)
  8. Boxing Day (Rewired)
  9. Warm Seas (Rewired)
  10. Someone Pull Me Out (Rewired)
  11. Last Man Standing (Rewired)
  12. Little Man (Rewired)

Lineup

Bruce Soord – vocals, guitars

John Sykes – bass, vocals

Steve Kitch – keyboards

Gavin Harrison – drums

Label

KScope

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