I’ve probably rolled out the old adage about absence making the heart grow fonder somewhere. And the one about never knowing what you’ve got till it’s gone. Pure Reason Revolution returns with a terrific album that harks back to their groundbreaking formative days as an exciting progressive unit.
Release Date: 3rd April 2020
Label: Inside Out Music
Formats: CD / 2LP vinyl / DL
With the last two albums, Amor Vincit Omina and Hammer And Anvil heading in a more electronic direction, the decision to call it quits (or in hindsight, take a break) a few years back left a bit of a damp squib feeling. We needed a better closure.
Jon Courtney’s post-PRR work with Bullet Height might have scratched an itch, but perhaps his heart has always lain with Pure Reason. When new music started to re-emerge, inevitable it seemed to have PRR scored through it.
So Eupnea is what they’ve called a ‘musical reset’ with Chloe Alper adding her enthusiasm for adding the breath of life and bringing Pure Reason into the equation with the tone of the new sounds. And make no bones about it, it’s an utterly fabulous record that’s underpinned by three biggies that build on their Dark Third era and their distinctive combination of two voices.
The announcement of their return with Silent Genesis was a bold gesture. It’s cool intro leads to a Floyd-y middle section where the guitar figure lies under an eerie synth line and funky passage in a new prog groove. After five minutes you know the bright ambassadors have latched back into what they do best. It’s one of the key parts of the album.
The shorter of the longer pieces, Ghosts & Typhoons is the one that stands out. In particular, the dynamic ending section emerges from a thundering build-up with the urgent vocal passage and frenzied but sudden close. Perhaps the only way to finish after the freak out intensity.
The lead in of the haunting and hanging keyboard chord(s) of the title track takes us on a journey that’s lyrically inspired by unusually personal events. It’s an epic piece that passes through several sections with an emotional charge that’s rare to find in progressive music.
Providing pause points between the three extended tracks, are three shorter pieces that while conceding a few pounds in the weight test, offer something alternative and refreshing. New Obsession earns the honour of opening proceedings with a threatening rumble and explosion with the more than capable assistance of original guitarist Greg Jong. Not for the first time, there’s an emergency stop.
Beyond Our Bodies brings a cool wave with a fizzing guitar flourish while the lightness of Maelstrom has some underlying malevolence that breaks through befitting of the title. That’s even before mentioning the first impressions of the bizarre but brilliant cover image – man with oversized hammer and yawning lion head – whose significance isn’t clear just yet,
In a case of words avoiding the mincer, it’s a new regime; it’s a triumphant return.
Listen to Ghosts & Typhoons here: