Pure Reason Revolution - Dark Third
CD Review by Doug Cornell
Need a break from garage rock? Tired of simple melodies played by 4 guys who olnly knoe three chords? Then take a look at Pure Reason Revolution, a progressive rock outfit from Great Britain. PRR makes complicated, provocative, and extremely listenable music that will be welcome to any fan of Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Asia, or The Moody Blues.
PRR combine guitars, synths, male and female vocals, and percussion to create lushly textured progressive rock. Each song is built up like a complex mathematics equation, with layer upon layer of insane melodies. PRR is pretentious, but in just the right way. There are no embarrassing lyrics or moments when you wished that the band would quit being indulgent. Instead, the band prefers to allow their individual instruments carry the mood while the vocals exist as another piece of the puzzle.
Dark Third begins with a quiet, pulsing sound in the instrumental track "Aeropause." Subtle guitar arpeggios are introduced before a David Gilmour influenced slide guitar solo floats along in a light melody. The music quiets for a moment while a piano is allowed space. The next track, "Goshen's Remains," introduces stunning female vocals, layer upon layer of guitars, and a melodic consciousness rarely found in modern rock. The band reaches into the layered vocals that the Moody Blues were so proficient at in the spacey "Apprentice of the Universe." The tempo is slowed to a throbbing pulse in "Bright Ambassadors of Morning," one of the album's true masterpieces. The song slithers along at a nearly hypnotic pace for several moments before a nifty Pink Floyd-esque segue introduces tribal drumming, thick electric guitars, and layer upon layer of melodic combined male/female singing. The amazing thing is that all of this complexity demands your attention for the song's full 12 minutes.
The band continues the strong songwriting with "Exact Colour," a tune that alternates smooth vocals with a jarring electric guitar sequence. PRR demonstrates command of their craft (and their need to rock) in "Voices in Winter / In the Realms of the Divine." The album's pace is nicely augmented with a masterful bit of music production ("Bullets Dominae"), then takes a turn with a more organic soundscape in the complex yet lovely "Twycyn/Trembling Willows." Dark Third closes with "He Tried To Show Them Magic/Ambassador's Return," an epic-length track that showcases every sound that the band is capable of creating: Retro-chunky guitars, magical, sweeping vocals, smart and effective percussion, and a sound that most audio engineers only dream of.
If Dark Third seems out of place in this era of "made for iTunes" singles, then so be it. None of the tracks on this album are designed to be hit singles. This is a record that was made to honor a time when music was to be absorbed in its entirety, not made for a 30 second television commercial. Get Dark Third because you love music, not because you want to show everyone how hip you are.