The Pineapple Thief
Little Man


5.0
classic

Review

by Mad. USER (28 Reviews)
December 22nd, 2012 | 67 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Beautiful, serene, haunting. This is The Pineapple Thief's masterpiece.

The Pineapple Thief have often been slated for taking a heavy amount of influence from Porcupine Tree, another British prog band operating around the same time, however a little research reveals that Bruce Soord (Thief's lead vocalist and songwriter) was entirely unaware of Porcupine Tree until Steven Wilson contacted him in question of how similar their sounds were (the two became friends and Wilson helped bring the band onto the Kscope label, a huge step up from Cyclops).
This album then, is a natural progression for the band and is what they had been working towards all that time since their inception in 1999.

From the first fifteen seconds of the first song, Dead in the Water, you know this isn't going to be typical modern prog rock - it begins with seemingly random sounds of amplifier feedback which develops into a beat, eventually followed by an acoustic guitar. Throughout the whole album, the band makes unconventional use of their instruments, from the atmospheric and vibrato guitars to Keith Harrison's truly exceptional drumming, played to a backdrop of drawn out violin and keyboard work. The still, empty, icy musical landscape that this creates is perfectly captured in the Kscope remaster artwork (there's even more brilliant photography in the booklet):
http://www.kscopemusic.com/wp-content/KSCOPE140-350.jpg
This is for listening to when you are relaxed and calm, but with a bittersweet taste in your mouth. It's one of those albums that only fits those unusual moods and requires several listens before you can truly appreciate it but when you do, your mind will be blown.

Another triumph is its use of simplistic but effective lyrics to convey themes of loss and death, often linked to what appears to be Soord's grief for a brother or son lost in a miscarriage. This style is something that Bruce has always tried to use and replicate, most notably on All the Wars' "Give it Back" where it fails horribly. One of Little Man's most emotional tracks (but also structurally, weakest - it starts abruptly and doesn't seem to progress as much as the others, but is still a good track) is the title track:
There was no warning sign,
The wounds won't heal in time,
There's nowhere we will go,
Without you, you know

In my dreams, you have your mother's smile,
Even though we touched for just a while,
All my life you'll have your mother's smile.
The most impressive aspect, as I have mentioned before, is the percussion which consists of slow, erratic, unusual patterns with use of the "less travelled" instruments such as the ride cymbal and floor tom, defining the album highlights Wilting Violet, (A beautiful, crescendoing song that best matches the artwork) Run a Mile (the fastest song, making excellent use of electronic sounds) and November (the album's and one of the band's all time best, every instrument played to its full potential with strongly affecting lyrics that resemble all of Soord's contained anger screaming to be released).

There are no weak songs on this album, but two others of the best are fan favourites Snowdrops and We Love You. The first feels like the album's conclusion, with Soord effectively summing up all of the key themes and finally leaving his grief behind ("We are both falling snow / So settle down, just settle down / And in amongst them all,
The little man stands tall.") to finish with a tranquillizing clapping verse.
The latter is a dark, 8 minute encore about a person trapped in a "one horse town" with maddened citizens engulfing them:
Don't you know we love you"
We love you.

We need your soul
We need your soul
To feed our world
To feed our world.
The track develops into a 4 minute instrumental that proves once again how good they are as musicians.

Little Man is an astounding emotional, atmospheric and satisfying piece of art, and should be essential for any avid prog fan, The Pineapple Thief being one of the most underrated bands in contemporary music. So go on, pick your copy up. Today.

Top Songs
  • Wilting Violet
  • Run A Mile
  • November
  • Snowdrops
  • We Love You




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Comments:Add a Comment 
Mike08
December 22nd 2012


623 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is a really good review. You have a style that is accessable and interesting. Great Job. One question:



One of Little Man's most emotional tracks (but also structurally, weakest) is the title track:



- You mention that it is structurally the weakest and then leave that comment alone. It is not a huge detail, so you just need one sentence explaining this statement.

KerfuffleinaHussle
December 22nd 2012


1033 Comments


Gonna check this one out soon, found 'Someone Here is Missing' a little underwhelming but I've heard bits and pieces of this and it sounds really great.

Mad.
December 22nd 2012


4746 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks a lot, Mike. I added a little bit about it for ya.

Mad.
December 22nd 2012


4746 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

In my opinion, SHiM is their second best under this (4.5), though I haven't heard Variations on a Dream yet, which is supposed to be pretty decent.

JamieTwort
December 22nd 2012


26988 Comments


Only heard Someone Here is Missing by these guys, should probably check this one out.

Great review, pos'd.

PayneTiger777
December 22nd 2012


4511 Comments


This is quite beautiful and I've only listened to Wilted Violet, Snowdrops, and We Love You so far.

KerfuffleinaHussle
December 22nd 2012


1033 Comments


I only heard Wilted Violet and God Bless the Child but they were both fantastic tracks. What We Have Sewn is also sounding very appealing.

Loved the review btw, pos'ed!

bodiesinflight57
December 22nd 2012


870 Comments


Never heard this one. Their material veers alarmingly between the good and the banal for me. Should probably give this a try.

Mad.
December 22nd 2012


4746 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks for the pos-es (if that makes sense)!



It's a lot different from Someone Here is Missing but it's unmissable, though for most Sputnikers it's probably not heavy enough...

bodiesinflight57
December 22nd 2012


870 Comments


That sounds good, I don't like it when they try and be heavy particularly.

Mad.
December 22nd 2012


4746 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Hail The Octopus!

bodiesinflight57
December 22nd 2012


870 Comments


Quite. New album out in February btw. Definitely buy it.

zxlkho
December 22nd 2012


3491 Comments


I love this band's newer stuff, but I haven't checked out anything before Tightly Unwound. I guess I know where to start now!

Mad.
December 23rd 2012


4746 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I think here or Variations on a Dream is probably the place to start.

Can't wait for Echo Street!

SirArthur6
December 23rd 2012


264 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Love this album. Wilting Violet is just ooft...

Mad.
September 5th 2013


4746 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

You'd have to be fucking crazy to give this anything below a 4.5. Seriously, even if you don't like TPT, you can appreciate the jaw-dropping compositions here.

Metalstyles
Emeritus
November 6th 2013


8574 Comments


Good review man!

As for suggestions: 1. Make sure your transitions are fluid and logical. For example, you end the first paragraph with the sentence "This album then, is a natural progression for the band and is what they had been working towards all that time since their inception in 1999.", and while this is important information, it doesn't really fit together with the text that preceded it. The easiest fix here would be to add a sentence or two to connect said sentence to the one that preceded it.

2. Same advice (fluid and logical connections/transitions) goes for the use of pronouns. Example: "Another triumph is its use of simplistic but effective lyrics to convey themes of loss and death...". I know what you mean by "its" here (the album), but some readers might be confused for a second as it's the first sentence of the second paragraph and "its" doesn't grammatically attach to or substitute anything there.


3. A solid conclusion is always a huge pro (not going to lie, this one looks a bit lazy, especially compared to the good writing found in the rest of the review ;). I understand that they're (ironically) the hardest bits to write (at least for me), but putting in the extra effort there is worth it.

In general though this is a very solid review and if you can write a similar one for Dege I'll make sure it gets featured. Make me proud brother!

Mad.
November 6th 2013


4746 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks a lot! Feedback is always welcome. I'll try and get to that Dege album if I can find a stream anywhere

shostakoverture
November 9th 2013


64 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Wilting Violet" is one of the best songs to ever come out of Kscope, up there with the likes of North Atlantic Oscillation's "Drawing Maps From Memory" and Anathema's "Untouchable, pt. 1."

Mad.
November 9th 2013


4746 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Couldn't agree more, along with So We Row and Last Man Standing. In terms of Anathema though Untouchable doesn't beat A Simple Mistake or Thin Air imo



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