The Pineapple Thief can be included in the list of bands who continually release albums which achieve critical success, and who sell albums to a loyal and devoted fanbase, and yet who, despite the quality of their music, always seem to hover just beyond the reach of mainstream success and remain below the radar to most music fans.
The Pineapple Thief are classed as being a ‘Prog’ band, and one of the criticisms often levelled against such bands is, on many occasions, they exude technical and musical wizardry and go for flash and virtuosity at the expense of the tune. But the Thief don’t conform to this norm. Hold Our Fire gives you light and shade; they can play hard and soft rock equally well. Their well-crafted songs contain some mesmerising melodies and, with the addition of Gavin Harrison in the band, they offer superb musicianship as well.
Hold Our Fire is a ‘live’ album, recorded during the band’s autumn tour across Europe in 2018, and is being released just ahead of the band’s debut US tour in November 2019. The album contains nine tracks, featuring eight from their critically acclaimed last album, Dissolution, plus one from 2010’s Someone Here Is Missing. Dissolution puts forward the lyrical theme of disintegrating relationships, and an unravelling of the fabric of society, and is considered by many fans and critics to be the band’s finest album, which was some praise for a band releasing their twelfth studio album. The lyrics of the album hint at undercurrents of darkness, and it reveals the Thief are progressive in the sense they’re moving forward as their music continues to evolve though whether, as some critics have suggested, they’re the band to fill the gap left by Porcupine Tree is still an ongoing debate.
There are several standout tracks on this album, including ‘Not Naming Any Names’, ‘Far Below’, ‘Threatening War’ and ‘Uncovering Your Tracks’, which hints at Pink Floyd circa the Division Bell era. They rock out on ‘Shed A Light’ and ‘Try As I Might’, and they give us all ten minutes plus of ‘White Mist’, with main man Bruce Soord asking when did you lose control? But the fact is every track merits its place from what was a great gig on a very successful European tour for the band. Hold Our Fire should go some distance towards establishing Pineapple Thief as a force to be reckoned with.