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Pure Reason Revolution - Amor Vincit Omnia CD (album) cover


Pure Reason Revolution


Crossover Prog

2.97 | 148 ratings

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4 stars I was kind of eager to offer up my opinion on this highly controversial sophomore release by PRR, having read the rather truculent put downs by many hard-core proggers and wondering how deep was the chasm with the rather fabulous and well-received "The Dark Third". I must say that I can see why they are frustrated, after all many do not really enjoy the more electronically slanted material that hints at Kraftwerk or even Depeche Mode. I personally deeply enjoyed Ultravox and John Foxx back in the lean days of prog, ergo I have little distaste in my mouth for more "techno" oriented music. The harsh synth screeches leap out immediately with the gritty "Les Malheurs", definitely closer to the classic synth-pop of David Gahan and crew (which would assuredly please my departed PA reviewer "febus", a massive admirer of Depeche Mode!), yet adding the slick vocal harmonics that make PRR an original entity. We are far from symphonic, neo or eclectic progressive rock there is little doubt but at least they had the audacity to dare altering their sound, discarding the Floydian influences almost entirely. "Victorious Cupid" remains firmly and resolutely rooted in electronica, looping rubbery synthesizers pounding aggressively while the various voices combine to weave their classic vocal harmonics. "Keep Me Sane/ Insane" is a brief ditty, the piece blends into "Apogee" with plucking strings hissing within the vocal cascades, suddenly exploding in a monolithic guitar heavy barrage of sound (Part 3 , "Requiem for Lovers"). "Deus Ex Machina" is the piece de resistance here, an atmospheric rant that is immediately appealing, a stellar mind-thumping and body-bruising composition that extols the special virtues of this courageous band of youngster-progsters. Urgently aggressive and blatantly angry, the sound is pungently ultra-modern, rebellious synths are almost industrial when united with the punkoid guitar and apocalyptic drums. "Bloodless" is another charmer, suavely sinuous vocalizations with intricate piano and strings. The mid- section is simply brilliant with tones closer to Massive Attack (with whom there are a few passing similarities), the backing vocals are completely spell-binding inducing a swirling hypnotic effect that is sheer bliss. The choppy "Disconnect" falls straight into Kraftwerkian territory, robotic vocoder voices repeated ad infinitum until the high-pitched lead vocal kicks in amazingly, swerving this into the classic PRR harmonic brew we need to admire for its sheer prowess. "The Gloaming" is the near 10 minute epic that conspires to take this into another direction again (closer to late 90s New Zealand-band Babble), with intricate vocal harmonies that build on repetition, hard beats propelling them ever forward and a final section where the electronic "whoops" really create a gloomy climate that is hard to dismiss. "AVO" is the acronym title cut, a genial piece that rekindles all those elements that are the hallmarks of the PRR sound, incredibly astute singing, piano and synths weaving in frolic trance, drums gently marshalling the rhythm ever forward. I found myself enjoying this album way more in the car CD player, racing down the autoroute with the volume on high than in the cottony confines of my audiophile basement. While not as dreamily prog as the previous masterpiece, they have caught us all unaware and hence surprised by their "cojones", opening themselves to disturbing the status quo by "progressing" elsewhere. Good for them, what's next, a Roxy Music style of romantic art-rock? I am game anyway because Love conquers all. 4 skins
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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