Review Summary: The Pineapple Thief steal sounds from everyone else and weave them together into a brilliant, gorgeous, and powerful album.
The Pineapple Thief. What does that name make you think of" It's generally a combination of memories of this year's film "Pineapple Express" and the idea of a whimsical, silly, unserious musical affair.
Interestingly, despite the name, this is a serious, gorgeous, and progressive piece of music. Although not a significantly original group, The Pineapple Thief have managed to successfully combine the instrumentations and lyrics of Porcupine Tree, the vocals of Radiohead, and the mood of Brand New to great effect. "Tightly Unwound" is an album that is beautiful, heavy, and cohesive all at once. It feels like a concept album in every respect except for the actual concept. It has excellent flow and, although highly derivative, excellent songwriting to boot.
The album opens with the ballad "My Debt To You," and gives you a great taste of what's to come. It starts out soft, and builds just enough to bring in some heavy acoustic strumming and beautiful harmonies, with the lyrics
Here's my debt to you
I wanted to say I breathe for you
But you are a world away, a world away...
Of course, placing a song this powerful at the beginning of an album creates immense expectations for the rest of the record. Sadly, it never quite lives of to the very high standard set by "My Debt To You," however the album does still manage to leave a large impression on the listener. The second track, "Shoot First" (the album's single) opens with some faster acoustic strumming and then moves into some heavier guitars, reminiscent of early Radiohead or "Lightbulb Sun"-era Porcupine Tree. It then shifts into the melodic verse, and then a somewhat-catchy and emotional chorus follows. While it's a very effective song, the band continues to use this structure on the next four songs, and it begins to feel a bit recycled.
However, seven songs in, the album picks back up again, with the ten-minute centerpiece "Different World." After the extended intro, we reach a very cheesy melody that will, again, make you wonder if this is another one of Steven Wilson's side projects. However, the song maintains a beautiful melody and top-notch vocals throughout, and reminds the listener that this is still a creative and solid album.
After that comes the track "And So Say All Of You," which is (like much of the record) very similar to "Shoot First." Taking a softer approach to this same formula, it segues well into the 15 minute finale, "Too Much To Lose."
This song is one very, very long build up, and is certainly some of the most original work by the group. After the main verse/chorus section, the track branches out into a large instrumental. Right at it's peak, about 9 minutes in, it brings everything back down to an ambient murmur, and then, almost at the end, the chorus returns out of nowhere. It builds back up, and explodes with distorted guitars and sweeping strings, leaving the listener with a true feeling of satisfaction.
Although rather redundant, and very derivative, "Tightly Unwound" provides a satisfying listen and proves to be, although flawed, a very strong record.