Those who’ve recognized the name on this next review might’ve heard it while reading my “Magnolia” post. Better known as the frontman behind progressive rock’s The Pineapple Thief, singer/guitarist Bruce Soord released his first solo album last week. Having performed on numerous records over the past couple decades, it came as a surprised when I found out his latest self-titled album “Bruce Soord” was indeed his first solo work. Many well-known musicians in the past have drifted from their original bands for better or worse with a goal to differentiate themselves. His latest album does just that, but is surprisingly deep, passionate, and introspective in comparison to his prior performances.
Recruiting the help of multi-instrumentalist Darran Charles from the band Godsticks, Bruce Soord ultimately creates an album ripe with nostalgia. The underlying theme of Soord’s past, his hometown and its disappearance from his life are better appreciated with its approachable, acoustic sound. Reminiscent of bands like Lunatic Soul and Storm Corrosion, the nearly softer direction of the album creates a more personal listening experience. The first two tracks “Black Smoke” and “Buried Here,” although simplistic in composition, are nonetheless fascinating. Graceful, delicate, and divine; the listener understands the album’s direction and theme immediately. Soord’s vocal performance is at the album’s forefront, more so than any album of The Pineapple Thief’s. It takes the somberness of his voice to effectively recall these important life moments, and is impeccably performed throughout.
Even with Soord’s dominant vocal performance, he is unafraid to complement his voice with memorable orchestrations. The incorporation of brass instruments throughout the album was as surprising as it was brilliant. Its usage in songs like “A Thousand Daggers” and “Willow Tree” help me to paint the scene Soord has created, walking through an empty neighborhood of a long-forgotten town. It is the latter song that invokes one’s own recollection of their past troubles and experiences. As lighthearted as the track starts off, it isn’t until the song’s long instrumental bridge section that the dramatics increase, and one starts to think of what’s important to them. The use of keyboards also adds to the layers of soulful ingenuity, particularly in the song “Born In Delusion.” A subtle presence behind the song’s percussion, the keyboard and sound manipulation help to add to the song’s atmosphere.
Much of the album relies on vivid instrumental passages to accentuate Soord’s vocal performance. It is in these songs that my favorite moments arise. Both “Field Day (Part 1)” and “Field Day (Part 2)” heavily using reverbed acoustic guitar rhythms alongside Soord’s lone and dueled voice to create an intense mood. In time, violins and overdriven lead guitar add to the animated scene, a sudden and bombastic explosion of emotion. My personal favorite song “Familiar Patterns” again utilizes airy guitar leads and various other instruments to highlight Soord’s delivery. I picture this song being the final song before the closing credits of a movie because of its reflective and stirring execution.
Bruce Soord has created a noteworthy album in his self-titled debut, one that could rival some of his own records with his main band The Pineapple Thief. The thoughtful, heartbreaking lyrics, accompanied with the emotional instrumental performance is in direct opposition to The Pineapple Thief’s heavier and busier discography, but is just as meaningful. Proving his depth and wisdom, Soord has my appreciation, and should have yours too. I definitely recommend you check out his latest debut “Bruce Soord,” especially for fans of other Kscope-signed artists like Anathema, Gazpacho, Katatonia, North Atlantic Oscillation, and Steven Wilson. Please support Soord by checking out his website, and by following him on Facebook and Twitter for band updates. Soord is preparing to enter the studio with The Pineapple Thief to record their next album. Here’s to anticipating another astonishing release in the near future!