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Bruce Soord + Jonas Renkse

“Wisdom of Crowds” Review – Diogo Ferreira

Album: Wisdom of Crowds
Tracks: 09
Length: 46′ 13″
Release Date: 2013.06.03
Label: Kscope Music

Riff Score: 8.5/10

The album title is “Wisdom of Crowds” and the project has no regular band name, it’s merely called Bruce Soord & Jonas Renkse – of course you already know them. Bruce Soord is the face of the British band The Pineapple Thief which was founded in 1999 and has released nine albums so far, being the last one “All the Wars” (2012), via Kscope. They might not be a highlighted band, but they surely have a particular weight inside the prog and indie scene. On the other hand, Jonas Renkse can be referred as a “pop-star” in the metal picture. He’s Katatonia’s front man and an important part of their songs’ composition. Do I really have to introduce Katatonia? Ok… They’re among us since the early 90s and suffered some musical mutations: from death/doom metal to doomed rock. Next September, Katatonia will release a new album entitled “Dethroned and Uncrowned”, also via Kscope.

Being the proper introductions done, must say I was perplexed when I got to know that Renkse was involved in a side-project – not a normal thing coming from him, even though I can recall his presence in Bloodbath. I got this with even more surprise when I realize that his wing-man is Bruce Soord who is not a metal guy like him, or at least artistically.

So, I started to listen to the record with a lot of anxiety and curiosity. Since that date, that I can’t recall exactly, I listened to it a thousand times and when I love something so much it’s harder for me to describe it, and in this case I can’t touch or see it, just hear because, well… It’s music.

In a dark way to begin, “Pleasure” opens the album with mixed distinct background beats as the singing voice starts to invade my ears. Softly, the opening track starts to evolve to something more rock alongside with the electro presence and the chorus explodes with a guitar riff which reminded me of Placebo, even though it is not blatantly evident.

The masterful blending of the chord progression, note by note alongside an electronic beat within the title track it’s so well produced that I listened to the various sounds as only one. After an electronic driven song like the title track, “Radio Star” transforms the environment and gives us a rock driven song with a lot of guitar and drumming – also, this one features Bruce Soord’s voice, alone.

In spite of the first songs being good, it’s in the middle of the album that my skin curls inside out. “Frozen North”, as the title suggests, is a cold and minimalistic song with a lone pinching guitar notes which evolves to a passage that forced me to do some headbanging. The second time the album curled my skin was with “The Light”. The title track (that I mentioned previously) is a sad and introspective song, but “The Light” is sadder, musically enigmatic and gives us lyrics as a declaration of love and caring for someone else. I don’t say it made me cry, but certainly it made me think about music with new thoughts. The song ends in turmoil which can represent anger and/or repent, but art has the power to show us different perspectives and that was just mine.

Maybe influenced by Kscope’s catalogue and with the fact that British rock runs in Soord’s veins, “Stacked Naked” has some of Porcupine Tree’s musical style and direction. With guitar solos backed by keyboard environments, this track could be easily delivered by Steven Wilson. The penultimate song, “Pretend”, starts to show some tiredness of composition and it might be interpreted as a filler.

However, “The Centre of Gravity” song ends this album perfectly. The electronic beats mixed with sound waves matches beautifully with the aggressive noise effects. Fury added to Soord and Renkse’s crystalline voices makes everything grotesquely amazing – being grotesquely a compliment here. The “Wisdom of Crowds” album started slowly and dark, as I said in the beginning, and it also ends in a dark way, but not so slowly… It ends powerfully angry and in turmoil, a noise-rock hurricane that makes our hearts beat faster.

In overall, I can’t say this project is a seed of originality, but it has great value to build in the experimental scene and everything makes even more sense about taking risks if we put together the art of names like Bruce Soord and Jonas Renkse.

Wisdom of Crowds

Wisdom of Crowds

“Bruce Soord” Interview – Gonçalo Lemos

Riff magazine spent some time with the pineapple thief’s main creative force: Bruce Soord, and got a chance to discuss the band’s latest release, recordings, the pineapple thief’s next album, his latest colaboration with Jonas Renkse and also the plans for the future.

Review – Diogo Ferreira
Interview – Gonçalo Lemos
Editing – Francisco Monteiro