‘Bruce Soord’ by Bruce Soord (Album)

26 November, 2015 in Music Reviews

Bruce Soord

Bruce Soord: both tree and singer have endured life’s constant weathering

The beautifully contemplative debut solo album from The Pineapple Thief frontman is bound to surprise and delight in equal measure

Bruce Soord album coverBest known as the frontman of progressive rock band The Pineapple Thief, Bruce Soord has been releasing music since the late 90s. Now comes his debut solo album and with it an opportunity for him to explore classic songwriting, without having to worry what long-term fans of his band might make of this less expansive sound.

Stylistically, the album evokes Beck and Ian Brown at their most contemplative, as well as traditionally introspective artists such as Elliott Smith and Epic Soundtracks. Inspiration for the songs came from the small town Soord grew up in, and the disappearance of the community he once knew. This theme lends the record a nostalgic undercurrent, which is both mournful of the past and strangely celebratory of it too.

The opening two tracks give a clear indication of what is to follow. From the outset, Black Smoke introduces the sparse yet striking feel, a lonely piano accompanies the singer as he revisits old haunts. Buried Here is a defiant ballad praising the importance of wasted youth. Soord’s vocals are at the forefront of the sound, more than ever an important instrument in their own right.

There are plenty of other highlights. The surprisingly funky The Odds provides an important tempo shift, before leading into the distorted A Thousand Daggers. Willow Tree is a sublime centrepiece with Soord singing “you look at me now, as we fathom out how we survived the onslaught that the ages have wrought.” Both tree and singer have endured life’s constant weathering. Leaves Leave Me brings everything to a stirring conclusion and lingers long in the memory.

From start to finish, this is a cleverly constructed album brimming with beautiful arrangements and thoughtful lyrics. By stripping away some of The Pineapple Thief’s more bombastic elements, he has revealed himself to be a writer with a deft touch and considerable depth. Hopefully this won’t be the last time Soord shares this side with the world.

Verdict: An understated treasure

Duncan Haskell