THE PINEAPPLE THIEF | Bruce Soord talks about 2019 UK tour and more | INTERVIEW

THE PINEAPPLE THIEF | Bruce Soord talks about 2019 UK tour and more | INTERVIEW

The Pineapple Thief – Interview

Graeme J. Baty had a quick chat with Bruce Soord about the 2019 UK tour ahead of their appearance at Newcastle O2 Academy on the 20th March 2019.

UK and European tour is imminent. What kind of setlist can we what can we expect? Mostly new material or will you explore the back catalogue too?

It’s mainly songs from our last two albums since Gavin Harrison joined on drums. But we’ve thrown in 4 or 5 old tunes too, which have been great fun to spruce up.

Latest album Dissolution came out last year. How’ve you found the reaction to it?

We are all really pleased! Although I’ve learned not to trawl the web to check out comments as it’s can really mess with your head and put a downer on your day.

It feels like a very densely layered album, I keep hearing new things with each play, which is amazing! Are the songs crafted in the studio or is it more organic?

Thanks. Come to think of it, the way we craft our songs is pretty organic even though there is a massive contradiction in how we go about it. We are all working remotely in our own studios, but we connect daily using the internet so it’s not as sterile as it sounds. Gavin and I work together closely in the early stages of songwriting. It’s basically like having a jam together in a sweaty rehearsal studio but without the pressure of coming up with something killer instantly. I am sure many bands will relate to the ‘30 minute jam in E’ syndrome when trying to write together on the spot.

2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the band, is this correct? Will there be any special event to celebrate? What has been the highlight of the 20 years?

It’s a bit weird because this all started as a very small solo project, and remained so for many years before things started to get going (including getting a band together to play live). I never focussed on ‘making it’, I was just obsessed with making music. Signing to Kscope in 2007 was a massive moment for us, as was Gavin Harrison coming on board in 2015 when we recorded ‘Your Wilderness’.  Gav has a lot of fans and a lot of them seemed to relate to what we were doing together.

Although the band has been going for some time the time feels perfect for The Pineapple Thief. Do you feel that you’re gaining a wider audience?

Absolutely – we can see it when we tour. More and more people are turning up. I was chatting with the guys about it the other day. How many bands do you know that finally break through after 12 albums and 20 years? We certainly played the long game.

There’s a very depressing political world in the UK at the moment and the material sounds stronger than ever. Dissolution seems to have evolved in this in this environment. To me, it feels like there’s a lot of escapism in the music and the lyrics. Is this something that influenced the record writing process?

Absolutely. Everything that has happened in the world over the past 2 years and how it has played out over social media and online blogs and news sites has been really disheartening. I am still hopeful we will look back on this era and realise it was a disaster but thank god we all saw sense eventually. It can’t carry on like this surely?

Gavin Harrison seems to have injected some creative magic has his input influenced the material and your own songwriting?

It’s great having someone like Gavin as a writing partner. He comes up with creative ideas I would never have considered, which is a songwriter’s dream (when you are all on the same page).  And having one of the best drummers in the world in your band is certainly a positive!

Any shows on the tour that you are really looking forward to?

Bristol is the last show of this run and it’s as close to a local show I am going to get for me.  There will be quite a few familiar faces in the audience. Come to think of it, that will freak me out. So maybe it’s the one dreading the most!

What got you started as a band? And what was the pivotal thing that got you into music?

When I was 13 or 14, I went to my mates house. His dad had a massive record collection. Mainly 70s rock and prog rock. We spent the day playing records on his fancy turntable. That got me absolutely hooked on music.

How would you describe your music to people? And how has the sound evolved over the years?

I just say ‘rock’. Over the years it’s become more defined and musically we’ve all got a lot better at our art. Apart from Gav maybe as he’s been at the top for a long time…

Name the first record you ever bought?

‘Eye of the Tiger’ 7 inch.

Name the album that you’ve played to death

‘Sea Change’ by Beck

Name the first gig you attended

I used to love going to local gigs in my hometown of Yeovil. It had a very vibrant scene in the 90s. I think my first ‘proper’ gig was INXS!

If you could be in any band, past or present who would it be?

Supertramp I reckon… Or maybe Duran Duran when they were superstars.

THE TWILIGHT SAD | MICHAEL TIMMONS | FISKUR | 02.03.2019 | Glasgow Barrowland | REVIEW and PHOTOS

THE TWILIGHT SAD | MICHAEL TIMMONS | FISKUR | 02.03.2019 | Glasgow Barrowland | REVIEW and PHOTOS

The Twilight Sad | Michael Timmons | Fiskur – 2nd March 2019 – Glasgow Barrowland

The Twilight Sad – 2nd March 2019 – Glasgow Barrowland

Feature by Graeme J. Baty

I think I’ll have to make this the last time I review The Twilgiht Sad. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to objectively review the band since I am ridiculously biased! Have they become an unreviewable juggernaut? This Barrowland gig seems like it’s been a long time coming. When they played here back in December 2015 that became one of the greatest gig experiences I’ve ever had. They’re back a few years later to another sold-out audience.

Fiskur – 2nd March 2019 – Glasgow Barrowland

Fiskur open the proceedings with a warm and light set before the impending doom and gloom of the headliners. Glasgow based project featuring a few familiar faces; Ross Clark, Andy Monaghan (Frightened Rabbit) and Christopher McGarry (Three Blind Wolves). There’s quite a good turn out early on to catch their splendid set.

Michael Timmons – 2nd March 2019 – Glasgow Barrowland

Michael Timmons follows as main support and he’s gathered quite a few fans among the diehard TTS followers, myself included! Having caught his set with them at Leeds Brudenell last summer. He’s since gone on to support the band across Europe. He treats a very courteous and attentive audience to a selection of songs from his debut Bone Coloured. The song ‘Material’ proves a highlight of his short set, that one gets me every time, just beautiful. He ends the set with an incredible barrage of cathedral reverb with a sound that cuts right into your soul. Quite an impressive achievement for a solo act. A great reminder that I really need to dig into my pocket and get a copy of that record!

The Twilight Sad – 2nd March 2019 – Glasgow Barrowland

I won’t say too much about the headliners. If you were there you’ll know how good it was. I drove six hours through rain storms and battled a few inner demons to be here (a huge thank you to the lovely people that talked me into going x). Worth every inch of effort. This marks my tenth time seeing them and remarkably this show has increased my admiration for the band. I walked away from the show with a feeling of euphoria and gratitude. I’m grateful I’m alive and able to witness a show like this. Perhaps that is the way I should view the experience? Rather than describing songs or light shows, perhaps it really is the feelings that matter. Throughout the epics highs and epic lows of my life, The Twilight Sad have been a firm part of my soundtrack for the last 8 years and they are simply one of the greatest live bands of our generation. That euphoria is magic and might explain my unwavering love for the music.

The new material is absolutely stunning in a live setting. They’ve grown to become one of Scotland’s most beloved bands and made a very welcome return with new album It Won/t Be Like This All The Time on Rock Action Records earlier in 2019. I/m Not Here gets the biggest crowd reaction of the new songs, with fans out singing James with sheer volume and enthusiasm. That brought a huge smile to my face.

The setlist is a dream come true, with lots of favourites in there but predominantly features the strong new material. There are two distinct highlights of the set. There is nothing that will send shivers down your spine quite like hundreds of people signing (in a Scottish accent too 🙂 ) Cold Days from the Birdhouse. It is, of course, Keep Yourself Warm that brings the biggest reaction. No tears for me this time, just pure love for a great song performed flawlessly.

I’m hoping for more UK shows later in the year, who knows maybe another Barrowland show? Now that would be amazing. Such is the love for TSS in Glasgow I’m confident they could have sold out a few nights in a row. I’ll settle for this one perfect night though. Here’s to my next ten TTS gigs!

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BLACK FUTURES | 21.02.2019 | Newcastle Think Tank | PHOTOS

BLACK FUTURES | 21.02.2019 | Newcastle Think Tank | PHOTOS

Black Futures – 21st February 2019 – Newcastle Think Tank

Feature by Graeme J. Baty

Long overdue photos from a couple of weeks back when Black Futures supported Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes (see that review here). They were absolutely amazing. Possibly one of the best bands I’ve ever seen at Think Tank!

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LIGHT CONDUCTOR | Sequence One | ALBUM REVIEW

LIGHT CONDUCTOR | Sequence One | ALBUM REVIEW

Light Conductor | Sequence One | Album review

Light Conductor - Sequence One album

Review by: Graeme J. Baty

Light conductor consists of a duo of accomplished musicians; Stephen Ramsay (Young Galaxy) and Jace Lasek (The Besnard Lakes). Sequence One is their first album and I was intrigued to hear more.

I’ve been leading quite a stressful and hectic life thus far in 2019, this album has been on my iPod for a couple of months and it’s been a lovely soothing retreat from the world. I’ve struggled to put into writing exactly what this album means to me. Perhaps it’s more for a feeling than a thought. That is the magical thing about music, maybe it doesn’t need to be explained but just allowed to wash over you and embrace your very being. It’s mentally soothing and pleasant. Light Conductor is mood music, soundscapes of simple composition that feel like a journey to some unknown star light years away.

A Bright Resemblance starts the record with a simple theme, repeated ad nauseam until you forget the loop and get drawn into other parts of the drone, lost in sound until you remember it’s there and you start to enjoy it again. Chapel of the Snows finds the loop twisting into a darker tone, I’m fully immersed now and the theme is embedded within my mind. The variations become quite engaging and curious, where will it go next?

Far From the Warming sun starts the second half of the album and allows for a brief readjustment and new theme to evolve before it fully appears. The second half is an entirely more oppressive and darker tone but I love this. Title track Light Conductor closes the album with the only vocals on the record, a kraut/pop rock anthem that acts of the album’s crescendo and comes as a pleasant and unexpected twist.

As stated I have struggled to put this one into words. Forgive me for the brief review. I don’t feel I can really do this experience justice with mere words alone. A remarkable instrumental piece that will teleport you beyond our universe.

Out on 8th March 2019. You can order it from their Bandcamp page

FRANK CARTER AND THE RATTLESNAKES | BLACK FUTURES | 21.02.2019 | Newcastle Think Tank | REVIEW and PHOTOS

FRANK CARTER AND THE RATTLESNAKES | BLACK FUTURES | 21.02.2019 | Newcastle Think Tank | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes | Black Futures – 21st February 2019 – Newcastle Think Tank – Review and photos

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes – 21st Feb 2019 – Newcastle Think Tank

Feature by Graeme J. Baty

It is hard to believe it’s been three and a half years since the last time I saw Frank Carter (see that feature here). That was at The Cluny and was a very extraordinary night, a blend of utter chaos and sheer rock ‘n’ roll fun, it seemed like the band were on the cusp of a huge breakthrough and they were enjoying every moment of it. Now in 2019, they return to Newcastle as part of a run of intimate UK shows in the same vein as the Cluny, back before their popularity exploded.

It’s a nice chance for fans who missed the early days to see them in the most ideal setting which allows them to get up close and connect to their audience. There is something quite detaching about larger scale shows and I think that’s the point of these gigs, since they play huge venues and festivals now, they want to re-establish that connection to the fans and be in the thick of the action. It’s an experience to behold.

There’s an air of excitement and maybe a little tension in the air as the venue begins to fill. Black Futures opened, I believe it was supposed to be Estrons but a recent implosion meant they have called it a day. I knew very little of Black Futures other than people struggle to explain their sound due to the incredible diversity of their material. Intriguing!

Watching the band I was struck with how brave FC and TR are for bringing this band on tour with them. They are fucking incredible and surely no band would like to follow them? Such a powerful act as just a two piece but they bring in some performers decked in dust suits and sunglasses, waving flags to help engage the crowd and add an air of mystery to the show. It really reminded me of Ministry, particularly when they burst in the first song of the set (a song called ‘Love’ I believe, could be wrong) which has a highly anarchic industrial vibe to it. Just when you think you’ve figured this band out hey jump sounds and pummel you with Trance a beautiful power pop number. Simply put they are one of the best acts I’ve seen in many years. A separate photo feature will follow for their set 🙂

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes – 21st Feb 2019 – Newcastle Think Tank

Think Tank has to be the most perfect small venue for Frank Carter, with its close tight space, low stage and relaxed approach to hardcore shows. The band and the audience can go there and know they’ll be looked after and go wild (within reason of course), everyone is there for a good time and that’s what we get. Tonight is a first for me, I’ve never seen a barrier in this venue but as soon as the music started it became apparent why, with waves of crowd surfers cascading over the crowd and safely over barrier, a good call!

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes – 21st Feb 2019 – Newcastle Think Tank

No one can hold the audience in the palm of their hand quite like Frank Carter. Phones aloft, fans enjoying every moment of this rare chance to get up close and personal with the band. With fans screaming the lyrics back to him, he seemed utterly in his element, loving every moment. Master of ceremonies, orchestrator of the chaos encouraging fans to crowd surf and look after each other. Defusing any male testosterone and crowd killing stupidity, gigs should be like this, go wild, look after each other and have a great time. It was great to see people doing just that and also to see Frank encourage a few female first-time crowd surfers. Just a brilliant atmosphere to witness.

Frank took some timeout to discuss Anxiety and it was quite an eye-opening experience to see how many people raised their hands when asked how many people had been affected by it. That’s the magic of live music, it brings you all together and although I’m also struggling with my own anxiety (I nearly didn’t make this gig due to it) it made me appreciate the power of music and the sheer delight that can be had just by letting go for a few hours at a concert.

The setlist is a mixed bag of songs covering their first two albums and some material from their upcoming 2019 album End of Suffering, they opened by bursting into Crowbar from it. They’d actually play that one twice, a trick that they’ve done before and it gets a great reaction from the crowd. Dedicating Tyrant Lizard King to Theresa May raised a great laugh!

Juggernaut got an airing tonight. Apparently, they’ve been leaving this out of the setlist on purpose to see if they can get by without it. I’m sure they can but I was buzzing to hear it.

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes – 21st Feb 2019 – Newcastle Think Tank

I must admit I’ve lost touch with the music after the first album. The cathartic release of the Blossom album really appealed to me and the music that followed is much more rounded and anthemic, more in tune with Pure Love than say his hardcore roots. In a live setting, the songs are incredibly powerful and a Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes gig is hugely potent, inspiring and exhilarating. They are quite rightly considered as one of the best live bands on the planet.

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SPOILERS | 03.02.2019 | Newcastle Riverside | PHOTOS

SPOILERS | 03.02.2019 | Newcastle Riverside | PHOTOS

Spoilers – 3rd February 2019 – Newcastle Riverside

Feature by Graeme J. Baty

Flashback to a couple of weeks ago! Here’s the full photo gallery from Spoilers set with And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead. These were quite a pleasant surprise, completely different from the sound of TOD but I didn’t care, they were great! They were on super early as fans were just arriving but they seemed to win the subdued Sunday night crowd over.

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MARKERS | Heaven in the Dark Earth | ALBUM REVIEW

MARKERS | Heaven in the Dark Earth | ALBUM REVIEW

Markers | Heaven in the Dark Earth | Album review

Review by: Graeme J. Baty

Heaven In The Dark Earth

I’m finding 2019 to be a very interesting year for instrumental music, already some amazing releases; Steve Strong, Teeth of the Sea and Rosetta. Markers popped up on my radar and having heard lead track Marine Parlance I was quite intrigued to hear more.

The band consists of London based math-rock veterans Jason Carty and Jodie Cox. Associated with such acts as Bullet Union, Exes, Narrows, Earth, Sex Swing, Foe, Art of Burning Water, which is quite an impressive list!

The album starts out with Fountain; a sparse soundscape with beautiful reverb drenched crashes. Providing the perfect mood setting for what is to come.

In Amber follows and sets the tone for the rest of the record. Beautifully bare minimum guitar tones, a smidge of reverb and a very clean guitar tone. A kind of ‘less is more’ approach which works strikingly well. As I find myself lulled into a pleasant meditation. The album continues this pace with a brief interlude for Haar. Before the crowning peace Muisca closes the record.

The minimal instrumentation is actually quite refreshing, I often enjoy densely layered music which requires repeated listens and heavy perseverance to fully engage and understand. Here the musicians let the music do the talking, bare minimum instrumentation and tone, juxtaposed with highly crafted compositions. It’s really lovely just to sit back, close my eyes and allow the guitars to wash over you. Delightfully serene record. It feels like a narrative piece, a soundtrack to a movie in my mind, just close your eyes and let your imagination run wild.

Heaven in the Dark Earth is out on God Unknown on 22nd February 2019. You can also order some nice looking limited colour vinyl versions from their Bandcamp page

…AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD | 03.02.2019 | Newcastle Riverside | REVIEW and PHOTOS

…AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD | 03.02.2019 | Newcastle Riverside | REVIEW and PHOTOS

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – 3rd February 2019 – Newcastle Riverside

Feature by Graeme J. Baty

And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead – 3rd Feb 2019 – Newcastle

It’s been a long time since the Trail of Dead played Newcastle, and in all honesty I didn’t think they’d ever come back! Their last show at Newcastle Academy was poorly attended. Credit to the band that didn’t deter them, I recall it being one of the highlights of my gig calendar. Eight years later I’m over the moon that they are back in Newcastle, this time they are celebrating 20 years of their classic Madonna.

They have Spoilers opening for them on the tour. With a set of varied songs that don’t quite fit the Trail of Dead sound but hell I didn’t care these were quite a pleasant surprise. In tune with their name, they save the best song till last, no spoilers! The last song in the set (Jam in A according to the setlist) propelled them to another level. They were on super early as fans were just arriving but they seemed to win the subdued Sunday night crowd over. We’ll have a full photo gallery from their set coming soon.

And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead – 3rd Feb 2019 – Newcastle

Twenty years ago I was learning the guitar and obsessively bingeing on American alternative music. Lots of Pavement, Sonic Youth, Built to Spill etc. I think, I first heard Trail of Dead on the John Peel show. I went out and I picked up copies of the first two albums and I was hooked from the start. Madonna was one of those records that spellbound me, the alternative tunings, tremolo guitar picking and dramatic song structures appealed greatly. Now in 2019 on my guitar god dreams have faded but the riffs are firmly embedded in my brain. Tonight is much more than just a stroll down memory lane, it’s a chance to see one of the most powerful live bands around.

And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead – 3rd Feb 2019 – Newcastle

One thing that never really occurred to me until now (particularly seeing them live) is that Trail of Dead are actually a drummer band! I have this revelation as I find myself fixated on the drummers, the percussion on their albums is simply phenomenal. Perfect Teenhood is pure driven rock drumming masterclass. After all, they say a band is only as good as their drummer. The current lineup features two highly skilled drummers. Kit set up in centre stage for the band members to swap drums for guitars in-between songs. I love this, I hate it when drummers are hidden away out of sight. Get them up front and centre stage, it looks and (more importantly) sounds amazing!

And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead – 3rd Feb 2019 – Newcastle

The setlist is exactly as you’d expect it, tracks in order with the intermissions played over the PA. Madonna (like their debut) doesn’t pause between songs, the only silence is at the end of Side A. It’s an immersive sound experience from start to finish.

Blight Takes All shows Jason Reece is a powerhouse frontman as well as a drummer. That’s one of the charms of ToD, they swap instruments and have two very distinct characterful vocalists.

And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead – 3rd Feb 2019 – Newcastle

Mark David Chapman erupts, proving to be a highlight of the set and an all-time favourite of mine. The crowd are getting really into it now as Autry Fulbright II stalks the stage looking cool as fuck!

And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead – 3rd Feb 2019 – Newcastle

All the band members disappear for the encore break. Leaving Conrad Keely to begin the opening of Sigh Your Children as a solo piece. The band dramatically re-enters the stage for the crescendo to Madonna. In a blink of an eye, the album is done. Holy shit. What an album!

And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead – 3rd Feb 2019 – Newcastle

The encore treats us to a handful of songs from their uber-popular 3rd album Source Tags and Codes. Ending the night on the classic Will You Smile For Me from their underrated 4th album the post 9/11 prog rock masterpiece; World Apart. The encore gives a nice summation of the bands successful period and confirms their place (in my mind) as one of the greatest bands of the 2000s. For me the first two albums are my favourites and Madonna remains as one of my favourite albums of all time. It’s nice for bands to do this, it really is an album that deserves attention and it was a thrill to hear it live.

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JIMMY FLOYD HASSELBAIND | 31.01.2019 | Newcastle Cluny | PHOTOS

JIMMY FLOYD HASSELBAIND | 31.01.2019 | Newcastle Cluny | PHOTOS

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaind – 31st January 2019 – Newcastle Cluny

Feature by Graeme J. Baty

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaind – 31st January 2019 – Cluny

Stepping in last minute for The Unit Ama who sadly couldn’t make the tour, local legends Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaind made a brilliant and very fitting support act for The Messthetics. Remarkably this is the first time I’ve seen them live, their live reputation proceeds them, highly praised from all in the local scene. I must admit that their recorded material doesn’t quite seem to capture their sheer presence and intricate indie-rock stormers. I walked away from the show a fan!

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THE MESSTHETICS | 31.01.2019 | Newcastle Cluny | REVIEW and PHOTOS

THE MESSTHETICS | 31.01.2019 | Newcastle Cluny | REVIEW and PHOTOS

The Messthetics – 31st January 2019 – Newcastle Cluny

The Messthetics – 31st January 2019 – Newcastle Cluny

Feature by Graeme J. Baty

I went into the show, admittedly, knowing very little of the bands material, just what I’d heard online. The draw of Fugazi (easily one of the greatest bands ever) legends Joe Lally and Brendan Canty was too much to deny, anything they’ve worked on is special and I was curious to know if the magic had carried over to this new project. The Messthetics are a hugely welcome surprise after years of Fugazi silence it’s marvellous to see and hear Joe and Brendan re-unite. This time they’re back with another incredible talent; guitarist Anthony Pirog. The results are nothing short of brilliant and have outweighed anything I could have possibly imagined.

The Messthetics – 31st January 2019 – Newcastle Cluny

I am known for my love of instrumental music and I know some people tend to drift without a vocal or lyric to hang onto but with The Messtechics there is simply no time to drift, they constantly shift and dynamically change sounds, it’s extremely thrilling not knowing where the song will go, how it will end or when the next party riff is gonna come in and make you grin from ear to ear. 

The Messthetics – 31st January 2019 – Newcastle Cluny

Watching Anthony Pirog is a thrill. He’s visibly having the best time in the world, pedal hopping and pulling out the most creative and diverse tones I’ve ever heard. Over the hour-long set he uses more tricks and technique than I’d ever manage in a lifetime of guitar playing.

Mythomania makes for the perfect opener and introduction to the band a super cool groove makes way for a J Mascis style hurricane of guitar technique and amazing riffs. Whilst the backline tightly drives, and at times almost tames Pirog. I was utterly engrossed right from the start. 

Crowds and Power is the standout song from the night. Somehow an hour evaporates in the blink of an eye and the night is over, it’s a thrill to witness this night. It is way too early in the year to be suggesting ‘gig of the year’ contenders but it’ll take some doing to top this show.

There’s a delightfully playful air about the music, yet the sound is highly crafted. Three super talented musicians have created something much greater than the sum of its parts. This is much more than just a fun side project or something to fulfil any ego requirements. Simply put The Messthetics are amazing! After the show, I picked my jaw up from the floor and walked away from the show saying to myself… ‘holy shit, that was good!’.

The Messthetics are a sight and sound to behold. Truly one of the most inspirational instrumental bands on the planet. Just what I needed to blow off the cobwebs after a long boring gigless winter!

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