For Bruce Soord, there’s a quote that sums up Versions Of The Truth, the stunning new album from his band The Pineapple Thief. It comes from The Leopard, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s 1958 novel about political ambition and personal upheaval in 19th century Sicily:
‘… a fact has scarcely happened five minutes before its genuine kernel has vanished, been camouflaged, embellished, disfigured, squashed, annihilated by imagination and self-interest; shame, fear, generosity, malice, opportunism, charity, all the passions, good as well as evil, fling themselves onto the fact and tear it to pieces; very soon it has vanished altogether’
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa wrote those words more than 60 years ago but for Soord they are more pertinent than ever. From the political to the personal, from world leaders to personal friends and enemies, truth is more than just a malleable commodity – it’s a weapon in the hands of whoever wields it.
That blurring between the real and the perceived, between meaning and intent, is the idea behind Versions Of The Truth. It’s an album that holds up a mirror to the chaos and conflict of 21st-century life and tries to make sense of the distorted reflections that gaze back at it. The title says it all: this is the soundtrack for a post-truth world.
The album was written in two major sessions, separated by The Pineapple Thief’s biggest US tour to date and the release of Soord’s second solo album, 2019’s All This Will Be Yours. “The songs really benefited from that break,” says Soord. “I listened to the first batch and they felt really fresh, and so I was inspired to go and write some more.”
Produced by the four members of the band themselves – Soord and Harrison plus bassist Jon Sykes and keyboard player Steve Kitch – Versions Of The Truth marries a stellar musical breadth to a spectrum of emotions that run from anger and confusion to sadness and regret and even glimmers of hope. In places, the album is starkly autobiographical. In others, it confronts the chaos of modern life head-on.
The darkly anthemic title track opens the album and sows the seeds for what follows. Alluding to broken friendships and how the truth becomes the first casualty even in the most personal conflicts, it finds Soord approaching the subject from two opposite yet connected perspectives. “There’s one person saying one thing, then it jumps to the other person going, ‘Wait, that’s not how I remember it, they’ve sold me out.’ It keeps jumping until the end, where both people are saying exactly the same thing.”