The Pineapple Thief: Magnolia

Short but very sweet prog rock hits from Somerset.

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Bruce Soord may be a figurehead of contemporary progressive rock, known in the past to write half-hour epic monsters, but he still likes a decent tune. With Magnolia the Pineapple frontman has given particular focus to this idea.

The moody layers, electronic edges and lush string arrangements are there, but compressed into shortened, hard-hitting packages – barely straying above five minutes (gasp). Doubtless there’ll be olde prog sages who promptly declare “That’s not prog”, but they’d be fools to do so, given that Magnolia is a gorgeous album – immaculately produced, and assembled with real love and imagination.

Hints of the rockier end of Porcupine Tree give serious balls to offset soft, Thom Yorke-tinged vocals in the likes of Alone At Sea. There’s a stirring vulnerability to Soord’s voice and lyrical themes of love and loss – the title track is exquisitely fragile, sad yet ultimately very rousing.

Isn’t it a lovely thing when an album can be heartbreaking without making you want to kill yourself? Small, but perfectly formed, pockets of 21st-century prog.

Polly Glass
Deputy Editor, Classic Rock

Polly is deputy editor at Classic Rock magazine, where she writes and commissions regular pieces and longer reads (including new band coverage), and has interviewed rock's biggest and newest names. She also contributes to Louder, Prog and Metal Hammer and talks about songs on the 20 Minute Club podcast. Elsewhere she's had work published in The Musician, delicious. magazine and others, and written biographies for various album campaigns. In a previous life as a women's magazine junior she interviewed Tracey Emin and Lily James – and wangled Rival Sons into the arts pages. In her spare time she writes fiction and cooks.