Bruce Soord, frontman and mastermind behind progressive rockers The Pineapple Thief, has written and released his first solo album, the self titled Bruce Soord. The music is a departure from the more rock-oriented Pineapple Thief, with a stripped down sound and a more acoustic approach. The result is an album that is overflowing with melancholy and vulnerability, as Soord revisits his hometown of Yeovil through the dreamlike haze of memory.
The album begins with the haunting ‘Black Smoke’, a track that features minimal piano and forlorn vocals and lyrics, that leads into ‘Buried Here’, a painfully nostalgic track about Yeovil, the town where Soord says he spent his most formative years. The most familiar track for Pineapple Thief fans will be ‘Willow Tree’, a song that starts off with a sweet, wistful melody and evocative lyrics, but ends with a strong sense of urgency, with dissonant horn parts and drums in doubled time. Not all of the songs are completely subdued: ‘The Odds’ has a playful, almost danceable shuffle, augmented with auxiliary percussion and octave singing. But despite the variety, the album still has a general feel of melancholy and nostalgia that feeds through as a connective tissue from song to song.
Soord clarifies that, “…while the songs describe a sense of the past that has been lost, it is also a celebration of this wonderful and artistically decaying town that created me. But all’s not lost – there is still a shimmer of sound here.” My siblings and I grew up in a few small Kentucky towns that were shrinking, so the album was highly evocative of the sights and sounds that form the backdrop of who we are, and the memories that fade and distort with time. In more ways than one, Soord’s album is like driving slowly through your old hometown and seeing all of the rusted and worn down monuments of your childhood. Bruce Soord’s solo album, Bruce Soord, is a powerful tribute to the places that form us, and the effect that they can have on who we are and what we create.