Pure Reason Revolution‘s first album The Dark Third was one of my favourite albums of the last decade. It’s like a checklist of things I love. Massive riffs. Vocal harmonies. Elaborate compositions. Intricate obscure lyrics. Electronic noises and a progressive idealogy. Like the bastard child of Pink Floyd and Smashing Pumpkins. It was fantastic.
As such their latest album Amor Vincit Omnia was one of my most eagerly anticipated albums of the year, and it had a lot of expectations to meet up to.
From the first note of the first track you can tell that this is a massive change from their previous work. I saw them live a couple of years ago, while they were touring their last album and had just released the download only single Victorious Cupid (which also appears on AVO), and it was apparent that they were moving towards a new, more electronic sound with tracks like Golden Disco (a live electronic reworking of their old b-side Golden Clothes) and the aforementioned Victorious Cupid. The opening bars of the new album feature a fuzzed out synth riff which you might expect to find in something more like Soulwax than PRR.
The Album continues with the new electronic sound, featuring a heavy synth presence in pretty much all of the new tracks. PRR also seem to have moved closer to a more accessable sound, cutting out the extended spaced out sections which characterised The Dark Third and even keeping most of their songs under 6 minutes long.
For the most part PRR use their new electro sound brilliantly, great synth lines, cool vocal tweaks and not so overdone as to obscure the fantastic riffs. Speaking of riffs, AVO has them in abundance, and I would have sulked if there wasn’t. The only time PRR really drop the ball would be on Disconnect, it sticks out like a sore thumb with a frankly embarrasing robotic vocoder voice, which doesn’t fit with the rest of the album and is utterly utterly naff.
The First half of the album is definately the strongest part, all the best tracks from the album are there, Victorious Cupid, Deus Ex Machina and the epic Apogee/Requiem For The Lovers but it does seem to tail off little afterwards. Theres Disconnect for starters and then The Gloaming which goes on a little bit too long and seems slightly directionless. It just seems a bit like an anticlimax to what is a fantastic start to the album.
The problem with the album is that it is a very big departure from their last album and they really risk alienating their fan base, especially those of them who loved their prog rock tendencies. I really like the album, there are some fantastic songs on there and it maintains a lot of the things I liked about their debut with the electronic parts brought to the fore. It really is a very good album, although it took me a while to realise this. I just hope that fans expecting more of the same from PRR will be able to appreciate it.
I also headed over to Pure Reason Revolution at their london dingwalls gig a few days ago, you can find my review here