Review Summary: They are well known and loved, rightfully so for their fantastic vocal harmonising. I have not been blessed with this impressive sound in any other way similar to this album, with four vocalists all extremely talented this really does set them apart.
I will assume you have not heard of Pure Reason Revolution before. They are a 4-piece Progressive Rock band formed in 2003 at the University of Westminster but originally formed in Reading, Berkshire under the name The Sunset Sound. Their sound is comparable to the likes of Porcupine Tree, Marillion and Pink Floyd. The credits for this album were; Chloë Alper, Jon Courtney, Andrew Courtney, James Dobson, Gregory Kong and Jamie Willcox. Two members, Dobson and Andrew Courtney left in November 2006 with Jong leaving in early 2005 so I am not very certain on how much work he did for this.
They have released various singles and EPs but today I am reviewing their debut album The Dark Third which was released on April the 10th 2006 by Holograph (Sony BMG) later to be dropped due to low record sales and they are now with Superball Music recording their latest. But do not let Sony’s miss judgement colour your opinion of this great band. The album title is referring to the 'dark third'; this is the third of our lives we spend asleep and dreaming.
Aeropause, a great opening track in my opinion. This is where PRR get to show us their great instrumental work by creating a relaxing, calm and psychedelic starter which is obviously why I mentioned Pink Floyd earlier. Nothing exactly stands out here, quite like a Floyd track does with sudden outbreaks of great keyboard solo’s or guitar but still nevertheless a great modern take on psychedelic music with PRR’s common electro flavour. This is really the only track with a true psychedelic sound. PRR do however keep bringing it back. Goshen’s Remains, right from the very beginning the guitar carries you into this special place, a soothing place. The outstanding vocal harmonies begin and it is like heaven. This track shows off their more heavier grunge sound later on, which I adore and suits them very well.
You might be thinking to yourselves in doubt at this point as to how all these different genres can be mixed so beautifully, it is similar to that of Fair to Midland. It just works! Some albums I find myself really disliking sudden changes in sound and often say to myself “this isn’t needed, keep to X sound.” As I said they have an electro sound to them which I bring up now as they layer it on top perfectly. It is not traditional electronic music however, it is more electronic pops and farts, space age beats added in to their classic sound.
Although they are heavily reliant on their vocal harmonising in which the guys harmonise with Chloë and sing the back up, Apprentice of the Universe does not feature Chloë on vocals for the first couple of minutes which brings a nice change to the table.
Their darker sound, comparable to the likes of Marillion and Porcupine Tree as I said above is most prominent for the first minute or so of Nimos & Tambos and for me was a great surprise, I am a huge fan of the neo-prog subgenre and they do not disappoint in this field. The drum work is also fantastic on this song, simple rhythms to complex patterns, Andrew can do it all.
As a conclusion then, a remarkable debut that really shows me that this band is going places. I do think instrumentally there is room for improvement, or more epicness. You know, let them break out into an amazing solo or two. Really though I am nitpicking, the sound they create would not exactly need this. I just feel it could be one way for them to progress and bring in a wider audience. I personally would like to hear some more electronic work as well to bring them even further apart from anything else I have heard.
[4.5] A different sound to most Prog Rock album’s that shouldn’t disappoint. Dark and upbeat. Powerful, yet calm.
Hate my writing but do not see a way to delete. /vain/high