Bruce Soord with Jonas Renkse – Wisdom of Crowds (Kscope)

Bruce Soord with Jonas Renkse – Wisdom of Crowds (Kscope)

Perhaps taking its name and inspiration from the sub-title of American journalist James Surowiecki’s book, the one which ultimately posits that when reaching a decision two judgements are better than one, The Pineapple Thief’s founding member and mainman Bruce Soord and Katatonia’s lead vocalist Jonas Renkse joined considerable forces to produce their debut album Wisdom of Crowds. Extracting base metals from their respective mother lodes, you would expect Soord and Renkse’s eventual calcination to be some molten fusion of progressive rock and death-doom. Rejecting any such logic, though, they adhere to Surowiecki’s central tenets of cognition, coordination and cooperation and in so doing they have produced a record that whilst it may well score very high on the epic register is still characterized by a clear deftness of touch and the refined structures of its songs.

Pleasure, stuffed to the gills with a clear and unbridled sense of its own romantic heroism and associated grandeur, sets the scene; slashing guitars rolling in and out of the song’s rising melody, the eloquence of Renkse’s voice serenely floating just above its surface. And so it goes. One imperious song follows another to a point where should this record ever be released as a film soundtrack it would surely provide the accompaniment to some widescreen adventure set in a mountainous terrain where desolation is key and words are seldom spoken. Meaning in this imaginary film would be conveyed through expression and atmosphere, the musical score accurately conveying each and every moment of emotional nuance.

There are times during this listening experience when the sheer grandiloquence of Bruce Soord and Jonas Renkse’s collaborative sound leaves you struggling for breath and prudence may dictate that you initially set out to make base camp before eventually heading for the record’s twin peaks, the penultimate The Centre of Gravity and concluding Flows Through You. These are colossal tunes which defy you to get onto their joint high wire and edge towards the album’s summit without the aid of a safety net.  The journey to the vertiginous heights of Wisdom of Crowds is one that is fraught with uncertainty and danger, but if like the record’s two protagonists you can approach the expedition with a sense of unity and enterprise, then it should prove to be one that is undoubtedly worth it.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Wisdom of Crowds was released via Kscope on 2nd June 2013

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.