As lead singer and songwriter Bruce Soord pointed out in his introductions, The Pineapple Thief have ‘been around a while’. Formed fifteen years ago, Magnolia is the band’s tenth studio album, and placing 55th in the UK album charts it’s the one which is tipped to be their entry point into the mainstream.
Their set opened with a rocky instrumental intro that made use of guitar, bass and drums, but which left fourth band member Steve Kitch sitting aimlessly behind his keyboard and a seemingly out of place MacBook. All became clear in the second song with a more electronic sound coming into play – a sound which fit somewhat better with their polished aesthetic.
The first few songs saw a few classic rock breakdowns but they were all a bit too clean. The set got progressively more indie and slow-tempo, and the vocals gradually more drawling, drawing upon the band’s Britpop influences. The lead guitar on most of the songs they played from Magnolia was acoustic, and string arrangements from The Divine Comedy’s Andrew Skeet shone. Sense of Fear, a track from the new album, was where their set seemed to come together and their sound began to make more sense.
Eavesdropping on fans, one got the sense that The Pineapple Thief hadn’t quite met their usual standard. The crowd had the air of a studio audience; clapping and cheering when told to but not taking much initiative. New addition to the band, drummer Dan Osborne, spent the duration of the show casually chewing gum, and I would have liked to have seen everyone get much sweatier. However the set was punctuated with glimmers of their potential and listening to Magnolia as a full album they sound tighter, pacier, and more interesting.
Live photo gallery (photos by Natalie Peto):