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July 15, 2008

Like a sweet disaster film, the heroes come out ahead

Car crashes! Mysterious disappearances! Money trouble!

A summer blockbuster? No, just a year or so in the life of Lucky Pineapple. Not to be confused with “Pineapple Express,” which may or may not end up being a late-summer blockbuster. “Pineapple Express,” it’s also worth noting, is the name of a Lucky Pineapple song, sort of.

Pineapple & Co. have had their share of trouble, so let’s do them and ourselves a favor and get any Unlucky Pineapple jokes out of our systems before going forward.

Ready? OK.

Lucky Pineapple popped up on the Louisville music radar in 2004-2005. Their unique, almost-haphazardly-mixed piña colada smoothie of Latin grooves, disco, first-wave-ska-inflected jazz, out-and-out rock made them almost instant darlings among local music lovers. 

The Pineapples recorded their debut album, The New Rainbow, in the spring of ’05, and before they even had a chance to release it, they’d fashioned a new batch of songs. This record has not yet seen the light of day, and that’s where the Unlucky Pineapple jokes come in.

“David Cundiff, our bass player, was hit by a truck while riding his bike home from work in the middle of 2006, and J.C. Denison, our drummer, broke his arm in a car accident in early 2007,” guitarist Matt Dodds said. “Both of them had pretty serious injuries, so we didn’t really get a whole lot done while they were healing up.”

Then there’s the Case of the Disappearing Song, “Jilted.”

“We were unable to re-assemble it, so we decided to record a different song altogether,” Dodds said. Because of time, money and the trouble with “Jilted,” the songs that will soon comprise The Bubble Has Burst In Sky City were recorded all over the place, including Chicago’s Electrical Audio Recordings, home to engineer Steve Albini. The Pineapples actually worked with other folks there, but seemed to enjoy Albini’s company all the same. “He was awesome, a sweet guy,” guitarist William Benton said. “He was very involved in the World Series at the time.”

Now Lucky Pineapple is nearly ready to release Bubble, and once it drops, Pineapple-heads won’t be disappointed. Their record titles hint at the emotions their records elicit. The New Rainbow was multi-colored and beautiful. The Bubble Has Burst In Sky City finds the band in roughly the same territory (the sky), but everything is bigger, thicker, more. Unlike a rainbow that pops up unexpectedly, this is like a large metropolis that’s taken some time to build and perfect, just as beautiful as the rainbow, if not more.

As if making Bubble wasn’t enough work, Lucky Pineapple also performed for, and helped to mastermind, the Louisville edition of the Burn to Shine DVD series. Benton befriended an elderly Louisville resident whose home was to be demolished, and helped select the performers: Will Oldham, Shipping News, Ultra Pulverize and others.

“This installment is going to be a lot more involved in the sense that the story of the house and the man that built it is going to be at the forefront of this one,” Benton said. There’s no exact release date for either project, but they’re expecting both “Burn to Shine: Louisville” and Bubble to burst onto the scene this fall.

As they’re wont to do, the Pineapples are already thinking follow-up. “We’ve already got some fairly well-defined ideas for our next album and hope to start work on it at the end of this year,” Dodds said. “Assuming no one gets a piano dropped on them between now and then.”

Lucky Pineapple website.