Back in 1993 I became aware of a band called Vulgar Unicorn, and after reviewing their demo tapes was pleased when they signed a deal and went on to release CDs. Then guitarist Bruce Soord started a side project called Pineapple Thief (no “The” in the early days) and released ‘Abducting The Unicorn’ (get it?) in 1999. Back then it was basically Bruce, and I don’t think any of us imagined that not only would The Pineapple Thief still be going all these years later but that they would be releasing albums through a major label such as Kscope. It is the same line-up as the last few albums, so joining Bruce (guitar, vocals) is Steve Kitch (keyboards), Jon Sykes (bass) and Gavin Harrison (drums).
I have not heard any of their albums since 2012’s ‘All The Wars’, which has the same line-up apart from Gavin, and I really enjoyed that one so what would this one be like? I think the only way to describe this is that it is pleasant in a non-threatening and non-compelling manner. Everything is, well, nice. Everyone is playing well, but there is little in the way of emotion and in many ways, and when at the end of “Demons” Bruce sings “it was only supposed to be a short-term thing” I wonder if he is really singing about the band itself. When one thinks of the lyrics in that way, then quite a few of the numbers taken on a different light, such as “Driving Like Maniacs”. It feels prog lite; this is never going to upset anyone but at the same time it is not going to drive much excitement either. Given my history with the early days of the band I was really excited about the opportunity of hearing this, but I came away relatively unimpressed. As I said, it is nice and gentle, but I need more than that.