Your Wilderness is studio album number 11 from The Pineapple Thief, and is shaping up to be my favourite release from the band since Tightly Unwound from 2008.
Some of the pre-release press hinted at a return to a more progressive sounding album, but to me, its dialling in the classic rock element more than a progressive leaning.
Album opener In Exile has no build-up, and launches straight in with razor-sharp guitar lines and some wonderful drumming from Gavin Harrison (King Crimson / Porcupine Tree). The adrenaline rush of In Exile‘s end section remind me why I love rock music so much, with guitar work that is reminiscent of Steven Wilson and his heavier work with Porcupine Tree (yes, I know hesmovedon).
No Man’s Land ushers in some warm West Coast harmonies that are one of the album’s strongest weapons. A lot of the performances are driven by quite restrained / sparse instrumentation, so when the drums and deep bass kick in on No Man’s Land‘s mid-section, its a powerful and moving moment.
That Shore is a beautiful track, with a lovely use of delay and hanging notes underpinning the slow-building keyboards. Bruce Soord’s work on the Wisdom Of Crowds album (with Jonas Renkse) seems to have informed some of the soundscapes on Your Wilderness, specifically on That Shore.
Take Your Shot features some of my favourite guitar parts on the album, and blasting out through an amp and speakers (as opposed to headphones / MP3) the love and attention given to the album’s mix and mastering shines brightly.
The Final Thing On My Mind is the album’s “epic” track, even though I can’t help thinking Joe Jackson’s Different For Girls is about to kick in during the first few sections of the opening riff.
“How did we get to be this cold?”
By far the most progressive track on the album, The Final Thing On My Mind has a powerful arrangement, especially when the instruments are pared back to the core of guitar, piano and vocals, making the heavier instrumentation all the more effective. This is the track I have found myself returning to the most when listening to the album. I can’t help but play it again and again!
Where We Stood closes the album on a sad note, with touching lyrics of regret and forgetfulness.
A special mention deserves to go to the design of the deluxe edition of the album. The 11″ book that houses the discs contains album credits, lyrics and some wonderful pictures from the Carl Glover archive. If you are a fan of Steven Wilson and no-man, you will be aware of Carl’s work, and these pictures of a long-lost USA – of family gatherings, cars on the Hoover Dam, family holidays in the 1950s and lonely motels, suit the album so well.
As well as containing a DVD with 5.1 mixes, the deluxe edition includes on CD 2 an album’s worth of new material (8 Years Later) that is often built from ambient / found sound flourishes and arrangements that veer towards Soord’s more electronic side, rather than the song based / rock elements of the main disc.
8 Years Later works well in its own right, but the main Your Wilderness album is arguably the best release from The Pineapple Thief to date.
Buy Your Wilderness on CD from Amazon
Buy Your Wilderness Vinyl from Amazon
Buy Your Wilderness (limited Edition) from Amazon
Buy Wisdom of Crowds from Amazon