Forget everything you once knew about Pure Reason Revolution for the group that once rocked your proggy socks off have gone, disappeared into the swirling vortex that was their past.
Paving the way for the rest of the groupâ€™s latest LP is Les Malheurs, track numero uno. Its heart is a thumping, electro beast, its soul a dance-floor. It is, however, almost different to the point of embarrassment. Where in godâ€™s name has all the prog gone?
What were once searing guitars riffs have now been exchanged for pseudo-intellectual dance beats. For every epic break that their older material held, now stand simpler rock theatrics which pack only half the amount of punch that previous attempts did. Itâ€™s immediately disheartening but also slightly interest-piquing as regards to where the band intend to go with this new-found sound.
Thereâ€™s definitely still an essence of the group's prog residue in Amor Vincit Omnia but itâ€™s furiously held back and only surfaces when the band arenâ€™t looking. Track three i) Keep me sane/insane is just fifty five seconds in length but is a drastic improvement from the first two songs. An odd, quivering piece of music, it never settles once and introduces the following vignettes ii) Apogee iii) Requiem For The Lovers fantastically. The listener is almost instantaneously thrown back to the bands older days and slowly the record gets a little more comfortable and easier to understand. Itâ€™s not that they're abandoning their roots as such, theyâ€™ve just decided upon a different, slightly jilted path which hasnâ€™t exactly been brilliantly executed.
Deus Ex Machina is the musical equivalent of the apocalypse and stomps on the listeners face with a heavy rock riff and slightly annoying vocals. Despite these, it is still a decent track which shows further hope for a questionable record. We will be requiring something a little more intricate than just another catchy-rock-track to raise some eyebrows though. The lyrics also serve to hit a nerve throughout with its continuous structure of â€œsomething something something deus ex machina, something something something deus ex machinaâ€. Subtle it most certainly is not.
The record wants to be something bigger and more engrossing than it is but the constant hints of genius are continuously smothered by the bands intent to dumb down their alternative theatrics. Bloodless sounds almost deliberately different from everything else just to show further diversity and suffers because of this. Almost strictly electronic, it wanders aimlessly around a down-tempo experimental landscape itâ€™s created. Thereâ€™s nothing inherently wrong with the track, it merely sticks out like a sore thumb and shows another path that the band seem willing to include but unwilling to flesh out. Donâ€™t just give us an empty shell of something interesting, we want to see what else you can do with it.
Disconnect furthers this point and begins with a ridiculously repetitive intro that flows unevenly into uninspired territory. Itâ€™s almost indie-pop with a simple electronic exterior and whilst the production is rather remarkable itâ€™s another "could-have-nearly-been-a-strength" option that the band have left to the listenerâ€™s imagination to enjoy.
The potential for this record to be ten times better than it actually is, is visible in every corner you care to look/listen into. The production is a major boon and the vocals are strong if slightly irritating on occasion. Thereâ€™s definitely evidence of the band we once knew and loved tucked in here somewhere. If only the band would break out of the shell in which theyâ€™ve only recently decided to encapsulate themselves, we could all go back to enjoying their strengths instead of their potential.