Pure Reason Revolution - Amor Vincit Omnia

9 songs
45:26 minutes
***** ***


Two years ago, British rock band Pure Reason Revolution released their impressive debut longplayer The Dark Third whose contemporary progressive rock received generally favourable reviews. Now they are back with their sophomore effort Amor Vincit Omnia, and it seems that they must have set out to polarise their fans. Their first CD contained mostly long songs that made them some kind of modern day Pink Floyd. This time, the nine songs are only three quarters of an hour long, a rather short running time for a prog record. The first thing that struck me was the much heavier use of keyboards, actually relaying the guitar a little in the background. The vocals are shared by all four band members, and it’s especially bass player and keyboarder Chloe Alper whose voice gives the songs a very distinctive flair. Jon Courtney also seems to prefer a more pop oriented performance, so that eventually the atmosphere is very different from what we have come to expect from the progressive movement.

Does that mean that the band has given up its roots, or that they are now even more daring than in the past, exploring new frontiers, never afraid to flirt with electro pop sounds that are not that different from Depeche Mode, or Hal Flavin, if we want to compare them to one of our local bands. The multilayered vocals combined with the sometimes very catchy melodies recall Chumbawamba’s most popular times. After investing some time into the album, it got the impression that Pure Reason Revolution were trying hard to emancipate themselves from their past, looking for new challenges. It’s not surprising that opinions vary, but I am pleasantly enchanted by their sophisticated electro pop rock music that takes a lot of its charm from the great vocals and the intricate melodies, which can best be heard on the dramatic Keep Me Sane / Insane. With The Gloaming, the band has at least one longer song that should satisfy the more conservative progressive faction.

Amor Vincit Omnia is a refreshing album that proves that progressive music doesn’t have to sound as if it has been recorded twenty or thirty years ago. Actually the meaning of the word “progressive” is to evolve, and that’s what Pure Reason Revolution have been doing on their second longplayer. They can align now with their compatriots Frost* and Kino who have also worked hard on innovating a genre which all too often runs the risk of becoming stale. If the band had made the effort to make the album at least a little longer, we would have got an even better overall result. Fans of electronic indie music and adventurous prog aficionados can finally get together with this challenging British band.

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