The Pineapple Thief

Magnolia

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Pineapple Thief spent more than a decade winning audiences over to their unique, hook-laden brand of highly skilled modern prog by the time they released 2010's sublime Someone Here Is Missing. On 2012's excellent All the Wars, they seemed to exceed their own and their label's marketplace expectations by nearly winning mass acceptance as well as critical acclaim. Magnolia is a very abrupt shift toward the pop fences. While PT have always had an indie rock element readily apparent in their sonic and musical architecture, this set moves almost all the way over to that side -- deliberately. With new drummer Dan Osborne helping out on the production, the quartet has reined in the instrumental sprawl -- none of these 15 songs is over five-and-a-half minutes. The hooks are more elemental; the sense of space and exploration not so much. Opener "Simple as That" is driving; its hook is based more on a nearly overused guitar riff; while the woozy title track is gorgeously textured pop. The twin guitar and bass vamps in "The One You Left to Die" create a constant throb under the melody that actually suggests the heyday of That Petrol Emotion, and the closer, "Bond," with its martial drumming, starts broodingly in a minor key and evolves into something approaching an anthem with cinematic strings and trumpet.

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