There’s been a lot of bands making comebacks lately it seems. One band that I’ve wanted to reform is Pure Reason Revolution. Their debut album “The Dark Third” is essential. While their next two albums didn’t quite live up to the debut album, both were very good and showed the band’s willingness to explore. They are back and as potent as ever with “Eupnea.”
“Eupnea” actually takes the template of their first album and mixes in some of the experiments of the other two albums to create something very special. This is the album I was hoping that PRR would release. “Eupnea” defines the genre “modern prog.” It takes the Floydian vibe, adds a Porcupine Tree edge and never shies away from hooks and melodies. Basically this is what I enjoy listening to right here.
The album kicks off with “New Obsession” which immediately emphasizes what PRR are about: atmosphere, great hooks and the vocal interplay of Chloë Alper and Jon Courtney. They are the only returning members of PRR but to be fair, the band has always been their vehicle. “New Obsession” is a great introduction to both the album as a whole and to those not familiar with the band at all. The guitar riff and solo that toward the end does remind me of Porcupine Tree (as I’d mentioned) but then PRR were contemporaries of PT.
“Silent Genesis” was the first single from “Eupnea” and at 10 minutes, it’s the throw back PRR epic that their fans have been waiting for. It has the space and vibe of something like “This is the 21st Century” by Marillion. Such a nice groove and effortless flow to this song and when it kicks it the riffs are even more powerful thanks to the preceeding vibe. One thing that I’ve noticed about the album is that while it does feel more like a true follow up to “The Dark Third,” it still has the experimentation of the band’s other albums too. Alper and Courtney are keen to show all of what they have been by showing what they can be.
“Maelstrom” has a cool primal drum beat to start but veers into a soaring lush chorus. The song is yet another example of how great these two sound together when they sing. For all of the musicality on “Eupnea” (and it has many layers to be sure), what makes the album for me are the vocals. Granted, that’s always been true on all of their albums. Whether it’s the sweet beauty of “Ghosts & Typhoons” or graceful harmonies of “Beyond Our Bodies,” “Eupnea” is an album that proves strong melodies and vocal harmonies are indeed still a cornerstone for prog.
The title track closes out the album and is the other epic on the album. Powerful Floydian synths? Check. Great vocals? Of course. Emotional guitar parts? Indeed. The song takes you on a wonderful ride. PRR never lose the listener yet they still make sure there’s plenty of things happening around you. Whether it’s a solo vocal from Alper or a powerful riff that kicks ass, this song is yet another PRR classic. “Eupnea” was an album that I was hoping for from Pure Reason Revolution. They are a band that I think the prog world has been missing. We all need an escape from the world and “Eupnea” can provide a wonderful distraction that is rewarding each time you hear it.
- New Obsession
- Silent Genesis
- Ghosts & Typhoons
- Beyond Our Bodies
Label: Inside Out Music
Release Date: 3 April 2020
2 bands to be notes in this review:
1)Tiny Giant. which was Chloe Alper’s project during the hiatus
2) Bullet Height. Jon’s electroclash project with the singer of Iamx. This closely resembled the direction of AVO and Hammer and Anvil, the later PRR albums before the break.
Both are good if obscure to North Americans