Review Summary: While not nearly as cutting-edge as its predecessor, All The Wars still provides a remarkably alluring collection of alt-rock songs.
The new album of The Pineapple Thief has rightfully ranked among the most eagerly anticipated releases of the year thus far. Bruce Soord-fronted band had been struggling to develop their own distinctive style in the realm of progressive rock for over ten years until they suddenly started gaining momentum with the release of 2010's Someone Here Is Missing
. The disc upgraded the act's often overly derivative style with a new, reinvigorating musical direction introducing plenty of ferocious heavy rock ingredients and a healthy dose of electronica into their flamboyant presentation. Therefore, it's hardly surprising that the foursome's new endeavour sustains these stylistic shifts. Treading the same path as its esteemed predecessor, All The Wars
largely ditches the progressive inclinations to compose complex epics in favour of a much more streamlined as well as direct approach to songwriting that has plenty in common with alternative rock.
Even though the effort to expand the sonic palette by means of elaborate string section couldn't be more commendable, impeccably produced All The Wars
too often embodies the style-over-substance notion chiefly because the song craft pales in comparison with amazing Someone Here Is Missing
. However, even a less cutting-edge material of The Pineapple Thief tends to be truly engrossing and thus surpasses the vast majority of alternative rock artists working today. “Burning Pieces” serves as an ideal heavy rock opener with its zippy guitar riffs, corpulent bass lines, precise drum fills and wonderful vocal harmonies, while “Last Man Standing” makes great use of dynamics seamlessly merging splendid mellow passages with a perfectly executed interplay between boisterous riffing and exquisitely arranged strings. In addition, deliriously sombre hard rock of “Build A World” corresponds to the album's prevailing theme of conflict exceptionally well.
On the other hand, All The Wars
has its fair share of misfires. “Warm Seas” stumbles due to Soord who tries to mimic Matthew Bellamy's vocal mannerism way too hard, whereas grandiose “Give It Back” would probably be the best cut on the entire album if it weren't for its blatantly repetitive lyrics. The track also reveals that the vocals are frequently lacking in variation often settling in Thom Yorke-inspired, dreamy safety zone. This approach to singing certainly works wonders in such captivating ballads as the title track and “One More Step Away,” yet hard-edged songs would certainly benefit from more diversity, not to mention aggression or verve.
All things considered, All The Wars
finds The Pineapple Thief embracing their refined brand of alternative rock even further. Although the record fails to fully realize the enormous potential of the quartet, the songs are still ingeniously crafted and sufficiently dynamic to make a lasting impression on their ardent fans, if not on anyone else.