Pure Reason Revolution – The Dark Third

Pure Reason Revolution
The Dark Third

Others listening to Pure Reason Revolution’s The Dark Third have referenced Pink Floyd. True, The Dark Third occasionally invokes or outright imitates selections from Dark Side of the Moon, but comparisons to the legendary Floyd are unfair and, more importantly, inaccurate. PRR is a different animal.

PRR earns points for embracing DSotM-era Floyd at a time when Syd Barrett is all the rage. But on The Dark Third, PRR is trying to be too many things to too many people. The band’s website propounds:

“Pure Reason Revolution is a band that doesn’t fit in with any prevailing scene. That’s one of their major attractions, of course, but it means they are devilishly hard to categorise. Astral folk? The New Prog? Beach Boys harmonies laced with speed metal slam downs, pure pop melodies and space rock explorations? What exactly have we got here?”

PRR’s sense of creative freedom is admirable. But in blending diverse elements into one cohesive sound, the individual components lose their personalities, and the end result is bland. Distorted guitars riff heavy but aren’t convincingly mean. Electronic sounds waft in but don’t move asses. Vocals hover angelically but lack conviction. As a result, the music washes over the listener, never engaging him. It’s like playing checkers against a computer: kind of interesting for a while but not that fun.

The primary strength of this album is the tight harmonies. Every vocal is on point. This, coupled with the uniqueness of the overall aural aesthetic, could and does turn people on; PRR has garnered positive press, especially in the band’s UK home. But I mostly heard a big production with nary a genius or tortured soul to be found.