How many times have you discovered a band, fell in love with them, and soon after found out that they have broken up? That’s happened to me many times, but most painfully with this next band. I felt unlucky that I was a few years too late to see this wonderful band live, and am pretty bummed that I will never have the chance ever again (Unless they do some type of reunion tour, which I’d gladly approve of). A band that spans over many genres from album to album, Pure Reason Revolution is a band I will sorely miss.
Having resided in England during their duration, Pure Reason Revolution consists of Jon Courtney on vocals/guitar/keys, Chloe Alper on bass guitar/vocals, Andrew Courtney on drums, James Dobson on vocals/bass/keys/violin, Gregory Jong on vocals/guitar/keys, and Jamie Willcox on guitar/vocals. Having heard the three releases from this band, it is hard to pinpoint what their genre really is, as their sound jumps from progressive rock, to electronica, to neo-prog influences, and even drastically changes from album to album. The band’s influences are endless, and are what helps make each album an interesting listen. “The Dark Third,” being their first album released, is by far their most straightforward, their softest, and in my opinion their best.
Right now, I’m imagining hearing all my readers saying “Wow, that’s a lot of vocalists,” which is what I felt when I first heard this album. Although Jon Courtney and Chloe Alper are the band’s “main” singers (I’ll use that term loosely), their entire discography contains numerous layers of harmony, which perfectly accompany the dream-like theme of this album. The creative approach and concept behind this album is centered around lyricist Jon Courtney’s fascination with sleep and dreams, and are inspired by his own dreams. Named after the length of time the average person is asleep in a day, “The Dark Third” contains many references to the experiences we dream of, and how our dreams can impact our day-to-day lives. I find this concept really interesting, as it is something I have never considered until listening to this album.
Focusing on the electronic and progressive sound of “The Dark Third” separately will result in two completely different listening experiences. I love hearing the unique sounds of electric guitar and drums interwoven with synthesizers and other electronic instruments. From the song “Apprentice of the Universe,” the listener can perfectly hear the blatant differences between the rhythms of the synthesizers and guitar, which I find fascinating. Every song on this album contains brilliant moments of this sound, which I deem the very definition of the word “progressive.” From the heavy guitar riffs in “Arrival/The Intention Craft,” to the synth-heavy “The Bright Ambassadors of Morning,” this album is one of my favorites when describing a perfect symmetry between these two different instruments.
My favorite thing about this album are the main vocalists Jon Courtney and Chloe Alper, who play off each other so perfectly and beautifully throughout “The Dark Third.” The best example of their collaborative efforts is in my favorite song and crowd favorite “Bullitts Dominae.” This soft, almost ballad like song features clean guitar, simple drum beats, violin, and the best vocal performances by each of them. Having only played this song sparingly while they were touring, I can only imagine the collective appreciation of the fans when this song came on. “Bullitts” gives me goosebumps each time I listen to it because it is so beautifully written, sung, and presented. My favorite lyric on the album is also featured in this song’s second verse:
“She gives manifests / And all the while impressed she follows / And leaves unexpressed / Just gathers the flaws but I’m weary from / The same discourse / Richer from the old strangers / Slowly surely new meanings will come / As everything arranges.” (source)
I recommend this album to those who love hearing experimental type music, as many of the band’s influences are from bands both old and new. Bands like Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Beach Boys, Porcupine Tree/Steven Wilson, Nirvana and Fleetwood Mac are easily heard in each of their albums, so fans of those will surely enjoy “The Dark Third.” I’d ask you to support this band, but they do not exist anymore; What a shame. I still urge you to purchase this record if you fall in love with it as I did.