Bruce Soord, the chief songwriter of The Pineapple Thief, who also works as a producer and mixer, has released a third solo album, “Luminescence”, inspired by the idea of finding inner peace in the modern world. Remarkably, not only is the record inspired by finding inner peace, but it enables the listener to find it within themselves, through intricate yet simple melodies and string arrangements and sensitive, sublime production. The emotional impact of Soord’s work on this record is outstanding. It’s also impressive that he has played every instrument, with the exception of the six-piece string section. Even his use of the drum machine and the flirtation with electronica on “Nestle In” are extremely well done.
The album does not contain any filler tracks, even though there is an instrumental “Rushing” which segues seamlessly into “Stranded Here”, nor is any song less than excellent. The acoustic guitar is at the forefront, along with Bruce’s steady and enchanting voice, and dances beautifully with the atmospheric string arrangements, particularly on “Olomouc”, which is named after a city in the Czech Republic. Soord, while on tour, captured some ideas on his field recorder after having explored various cities. You can hear that on the record. From the melancholic and life-affirming opening track, the lead single “Dear Life”, to the closing track, “Finding Peace”, the record wanders through various shimmering sound textures and landscapes and takes you on a journey, not just audibly, but emotionally, which is exactly what the best albums do. Even when you think the last track is finished, there’s a subtle beat, a pulse, a silence, before you are given a little more. The stillness and space on this record are judged to perfection: “The air is so still, but still, it penetrates my bones…”
This writer has not given full marks to an album in 2023, but that changes here and now. It’s simply exquisite, in every way. Not since Beck’s “Sea Change” or Opeth’s “Damnation” has an album soothed the soul so beautifully.
6/6 | Anne-Marie Forker
Release date: 22 September 2023
(Interview with Bruce coming in our next issue – subscribe here!)