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Music Review: Pure Reason Revolution – Amor Vincit Omnia

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Damn. I’ve just had to re-write my entire introduction to this review. Why? Let me explain. I only ever look at other people's reviews when I’ve hit the send button and my humble ramblings have landed on the laps of the ever patient Blogcritics' editors.

Just as I was about to do that I stumbled across The Dreaded Press’s review of this album. Horror upon horror it started with exactly the same line as I had just written. Weird? Well, maybe not, if you read on.

What I said was that you would “either love Pure Reason Revolution’s album Amor Vincit Omnia or hate it". When the Dreaded Press added that you might even “find yourself loving them despite yourself”, I couldn’t agree more.

The next thing I needed to research was the album title. Whilst at school I was probably the worst in the class at Latin. I still have the ruler marks across my knuckles to prove it. So I had to look up Amor Vincit Omnia to establish that it means “love conquers all.” Silly me.

So, without further ado I had to put aside my own sometimes misguided prejudices that make futuristic, synthesized, electro-rock/pop somewhere that I very rarely venture to, and get stuck in with eyes and ears wide open. 

With Pure Reason Revolution my bland list of potential prejudices are quickly brushed aside. This is an album that has been built upon a solid structure of anthemic choruses, infectious pop styled melody, and enough shimmering individuality to light even the most resistant of musical minds. It’s brave, it’s bold, and most importantly, it works.

Waves of solid guitar greet you amid the multi-layers of synthesizer. Loops that don’t overstay their welcome, and lusciously fuzzed bass lines, all sit above those infectious hooks. Every so often the album takes a turn towards the dark in a set crammed full of twists and turns, corridors, cul-de-sacs, and full on soundscaping.

Opening track “Les Malheurs” smacks you in the face with its undisputed quality. The multi textured “Victorious Cupid” is rich in vocal harmony with every layer perfectly pitched and balanced. It’s in your face without slapping you about. Vibrantly effective it pulses so effectively that it ultimately entices you to venture further inside its musical maze.

The next track is divided into two parts. “Keep Me Sane/Insane” is split into “Apogee” and “Requiem For The Lovers”. Here, all the intricacy involved is obvious but once again it is built upon a song that would stand strongly if stripped right back to its basic of basic levels.

Strip it back they do with “Bloodless” which comes as a soothing surprise that is nicely placed after the synth soaked dynamics of “Deusex Machina”. This is a massive track that is given even more impact by an underlying wall of guitar and, the by now familiar, harmonizing.

“Disconnect” and “The Gloaming” are again built on solid foundations whilst album closer “Avo” wraps up with an atmospheric example of their undisputed and near unique craftsmanship.

Formed at London’s Westminster Uni in 2003 the band has slowly morphed into the stylish electronic sound you hear today. Their first album The Dark Third, released in 2006, was perhaps more representative of the bands original classic-progressive inspirations. Now with Amor Vincit Omnia PRR has shown that they are not a band to necessarily stay on safer established ground.

Scratch below the surface of the album and you can still hear progressive harmonies, melodic hooks, and rock riffs. However, the change of style has successfully seen them merge a myriad of layers and twists and turns that, as unlikely as it sounds, works.

Pure Reason Revolution are leaders in creating the musical revolution that their name implies. Having not seen this one coming, it leaves you breathlessly wondering where they will take it from here. In the meantime. why not visit the band's MySpace page and decide for yourself.

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About Jeff Perkins

  • alf

    Yup, I can believe it’s Dylan who does the reviewing as well as the writing, dogs being tone deaf and all that.