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The Reasoning - Acoustically Speaking CD (album) cover

ACOUSTICALLY SPEAKING

The Reasoning

 

Crossover Prog

3.85 | 17 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Sothoth
4 stars Acoustically Speaking does the expected; it transforms The Reasoning's material into a more earthy, folk-rock sound. It also does the unexpected, which is to create a richer atmosphere for the songs and actually improve some of them from their initial incarnations. Without the neo-prog meets corset metal embellishments, the melodies and basic rhythm structures of the music has to stand alone, and it works. Why? Because the songs are memorable, catchy and quite often gorgeous.

My prior familiarity with the band was solely with Dark Angel, thus hearing that album's title track as well as A Musing Dream and In The Future with new instrumentation was almost a revelation. The songs seem to flow better here and have a richer sound and added warmth. These versions aren't completely stripped down versions of the originals, since the overall sound of this album is as lush and full as ever. There's drums, bass, guitars and keyboards with some sweet surprises such as that fantastic smooth trumpet solo during The Thirteenth Hour, but don't expect wailing guitar leads, double-bass drum pedaling or crunchy guitar riff chugging. The guitars are never distorted, giving the album a breezy vibe, yet the songs are busy enough to never get even remotely tiresome.

The dual vocal approach here is another highlight. We're not dealing with technically astounding vocalists, but the male and female dynamic is a rare treat in that it doesn't sound like a corny duet, a dialogue-based "story" approach, or a situation where one vocalist completely outshines the other. Both main vocalists sing well and compliment each other perfectly and when they trade off verses or sections it feels like a natural progression as opposed to a jarring change of dynamics. The last half of A Musing Dream is a fine example of how this approach to singing can create something beautiful.

It's tricky to rate an album like this for this site. These versions of the songs are perhaps less proggy than their original versions by simplifying the song structures and some of the instrumentation for the purposes of gaining atmosphere. Yet the songs themselves retain plenty of creative elements and actually have more character and uniqueness in this format than a lot of modern prog offerings I've been hearing. I'm not a softy music-listening-wise (I can enjoy stuff like Portal and Immolation...play some Portal for your mother in a car someday), but I prefer this album to their heavier-based material. Excellent stuff.

Prog Sothoth | 4/5 |

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