What is the truth? A difficult question to both ask and answer in a society where facts are disposable commodities and the accepted reference point for truth has made way for a contentious ‘post-truth’ era.
The latest installment from the British-prog rockers, ‘Versions of the Truth’, attempts to address just that and how this commonplace ideology can be the destroyer of friendships and relationships. How do we perceive the truth? Where does the common ground lie? Whether you hear the record from the point of view of two friends arguing, an evaluation of current societal norms or the tumultuous shortfalls of a divided country and government, The Pineapple Thief have produced a thought evoking piece that dares the listener to reflect, make their own decisions and highlights questions we should be asking.
The album as a whole, draws upon a melancholic, almost mystical atmosphere that confronts the gloomy realms of post-truth. Soord’s sensitive vocals are expressive, and ebb and flow as the album progresses. It’s certainly on the quieter side of prog, but this doesn’t detract from the carefully placed melodies and overall tone of the album.
The opening title track is recognisably The Pineapple Thief and really sets the pace for the album, with its groove-infused beat, accompanied by subdued lyrics expressing a back and forth argument between two people with differing perspectives; infusing the idea of post-truth with the repetition of “it’s not how I remember it.” Gavin Harrison adds something unique to the track, with his hypnotic use of the xylophone-esque Marimba.
“Break it all” amps up the beat up with its infusion of groove-ridden rock, darker melodies and a body-moving riff. It’s certainly one of the more ‘wild’ tracks on the album.“Demons” is placed perfectly on this album, demonstrably one of the more funkier tracks on the album, verging on the edge of psychedelic and really shows the depth of the band’s musical talents.
On the other hand, “Driving Like Maniacs”, “Too Many Voices” and “Out Of Line” seem to almost put you in a cruising position, to sit back, relax and reflect on the lyrics. These tracks are so stripped back, that personally, they’re a little too light and brooding for me, sounding not dissimilar to Kings of Leon. However, they do continue to show the bands versatility.
“Leave Me Be” is more in keeping with the bands last release “Dissolution”, picking up the pace following on from the sombre “Driving Like Maniacs”, with psychadelic-esque guitar solos, soft rock melodies and a catchy chorus. “Stop Making Sense” opens with soft vocals and guitar work before reintroducing the marimba and percussion, providing subtle undertones that border on the therapeutic.
After listening to this album for the third time, the first half seems quite mellow, leaving a hazy sense of what’s real, what’s perceived and deciphering lyrical meanings, but then comes along “Our Mire”. Clocking in at just over 7 minutes, this track is one of my favourites and feels as though this is the moment of “awakening”. Soord addresses the aftermath of a broken relationship, with lyrics such as “I didn’t want to wake up… I didn’t want to see our ship going down”, however others may interpret this differently. Featuring some of Harrison’s sharpest drumming, this track leaves me with the mental image of a waterfall; floating verses and (nearing-the-edge) beats that pick up the pace just before crashing down into a more driven, rock-fueled chorus line.
Wrapping up the album is “The Game”, consisting of soft melodic undertones and poignant lyrics such as, “you’re taking us all for fools… you’re selling us down the river and you know where it leads…”, it’s certainly a song that’s up to personal interpretation and drives home the post-truth theme and its ever-changing perspectives. As a Brit who lives in mainland Europe, it’s hard not to hear this song from a political stand point and question what comes next. It’s a track that leaves you thinking and wanting more.
Overall, ‘Versions of the Truth’ delivers an evocative exploration into a post-truth society, delving into dark territories and seemingly speaking from the soul, with the emotional musical narratives encouraging the listener to reflect. One thing I will say, is that this album can take a few listens to get in to – it’s kind of like marmite, you’ll either love it, or hate it.
This latest release is an evolutionary step for the band and despite superstition surrounding the unlucky 13, TPT has proven this is not the case. While perhaps taking a path less travelled compared to previous releases, it’s the same, solid Pineapple Thief we know and love. Ultimately, while it’s a bit more mellow in places than I’d personally like, it left me wanting more. I for one, can’t wait to see them on their next headline tour.
Released By: Kscope Records
Release Date: September 4th, 2020
Genre: Progressive Rock
“Versions of The Truth” track-listing:
- Versions of The Truth
- Break It All
- Driving Like Maniacs
- Leave Me Be
- Too Many Voices
- Our Mire
- Out of Line
- Stop Making Sense
- The Game
- Bruce Soord / Vocals, guitars keyboardist
- Steve Kitch / Keyboards
- Jon Sykes / Bassist
- Gavin Harrison / Drums