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Pure Reason Revolution - The Dark Third CD (album) cover


Pure Reason Revolution


Crossover Prog

3.73 | 275 ratings

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4 stars Apparently "The Dark Third" is a concept album about dreams/sleep, but I was none the wiser for reading the CD cover notes, and the lyrics give Jon Anderson a run for his money in the poetic nonsense stakes. The album title and mellow, spaced-out feel of much of the music are pointers to the theme though, I suppose. Mind you, the music is not all laid-back: there are some heavier parts such as 'In The Realms Of The Divine' and sections of 'Bullitts Dominae', 'The Bright Ambassadors Of Morning' and 'Trembling Willows' (some of which is satisfyingly axe-chopping, head-nodding heavy). But, overall, the album has a comfortable, dreamy feel to it.

The New Prog of PURE REASON REVOLUTION is a real mixture of sounds, reminding me of PORCUPINE TREE, THE BEACH BOYS, NIRVANA, EVANESCENCE, THE DANDY WARHOLS and TIMOTHY PURE to name just a few. Sometimes I'm even reminded of ENYA (I kid you not). I recommend Prog Rock fans check out the tracks on the group's MySpace page, as they may be pleasantly surprised.

The overall feel of "The Dark Third" is mellower than the group's mini-album "Cautionary Tales For The Brave" and is, in my opinion, even better. Actually, the tracks 'The Bright Ambassadors Of Morning' (the title comes from the lyrics of the Floyd's 'Echoes') and 'He Tried to Show Them Magic!/Ambassadors Return' are also on "Cautionary Tales For The Brave".

The vocals and harmonies are very pleasing, as is the counterpoint between Chloe Alper and the male singers, particularly Jon Courtney. This accessible music seems quite simple, but there's more to it than first meets the ear. The tracks are lush, varied and full of melody, and this talented group make it sound easy, which it most certainly ain't. Quite poppy in places, quite heavy in others, the catchy tunes are still different and complex enough to warrant labelling as progressive music. I like the use of keyboards and violin, but then all the instruments and vocals impress me.

Despite having written in my review of "Cautionary Tales For The Brave" that I hear little of the Floyd in "The Dark Third", the instrumental 'Aeropause' does remind me of them, but when it segues into 'Goshen's Remains' and Chloe Alper's gorgeous voice wafts over a luscious mixture of guitar and bass, I forget the Floyd and just enjoy the here and now. James Dobson's violin adds some real interest and pleasure on this and the other tracks.

The accessible 'Apprentice Of The Universe' has delightful vocal harmonies and counterpoint between Alper's and Courtney's dulcet tones, which are better still on 'Voices In Winter' and 'He Tried to Show Them Magic!'. 'The Bright Ambassadors Of Morning' was good on "Cautionary Tales For The Brave" and fits perfectly on "The Dark Third". It's reprised at the end of both albums in 'Ambassadors Return', an upbeat and fitting end to an album that deserves to become a classic. If such a thing were possible I'd award "The Dark Third" 4.5 stars; as it isn't I'll settle for 4 stars (Excellent addition to any progressive music collection). Forget pigeonholes; forget complex time signatures and Prog Rock benchmarks: complexity is not essential in order for music to be good or pleasing; just take the music on its own merits, on its freshness and enjoyment factor alone. Wonderful stuff - makes me wish I were 21 again.

By the way, the US release replaces 'The Exact Colour' with 'Nimos And Tambos' from "Apprentice Of The Universe" (2004), and 'The Twyncyn/Trembling Willows' with 'Arrival/The Intention Craft' from "Cautionary Tales For The Brave" (2005).

Fitzcarraldo | 4/5 |


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