The Westcountry is not a hot-bed of musical talent. I should know; I lived in a middle-of-nowhere Somerset village for eight horrific years and the one time I picked up a drumstick my brother ended up wearing an eye-patch to school for a week.
Muse and Reef, that’s what you’re looking at, and The Pineapple Thief, who I presume are named after a euphemism I pretend to understand but really don’t, like ‘crafty butcher’. The Pineapple Thief are from Yeovil, and this is their 10th album. And I will openly admit I didn’t expect it to sound like it does, having heard precisely none of their previous output, to my shame.
As a person who infrequently throws words at music he shouldn’t be allowed near it’s very easy to be cynical about an album like “Magnolia“, which makes it all the more pleasing when I find myself slowly nodding my head with my eyebrows raised at the end of its 47 minutes. This is an album of solid, enjoyable sounds and quality songwriting. It’s hardly amazing or groundbreaking, but sometimes you just want a band to make you grateful they know what they’re doing without over-thinking it, and that, it turns out, is Yeovil’s Pineapple Thief.
Opener “Simple As That” delivers a whack or two straight away, the type of song that drags you away from the attention-sapping internet to actually give music the consideration it deserves. The irregular beat of “Alone At Sea” joins some clever vocals and excellent guitar work to make for a seriously good piece of music, faintly similar to a more careful MuteMath before I decided they were Christians and had to end that association.
The album’s title track relies on a grooving bass; again, it has the effect of making you appreciate the solidity of the record. It doesn’t need to over-exert itself, it’s an easy listen without sounding dull or out of ideas, and not many guitar bands can successfully tread that disconcerting line. In fact, the only one that springs to mind is dEUS (the more recent output of).
History won’t record when the word ‘nice’ became an insult but in this case it’s meant positively: “A Loneliness” is one of the nicest songs I’ve heard in a while, with a calmness about it that endears it to a grumpy old heart like mine. The album’s closing track, “Bond”, ends proceedings on a high. Buy it yourself to find out how and why, I’m not annotating it for you.
There’s little better than hearing a new band that makes you happy. It’s a singular pleasure to encounter a band that’s new to you alone, that everyone else has been listening to for years, knowing you can pile through the extensive back catalogue at will rather than wait for the difficult second album. Thank you for your fine new record, Pineapple Thief, and perhaps we’ll meet each other on a country lane one day, lost, desperately trying to get out of Somerset as everyone in their right mind should.