I don't sleep a lot — in fact, I average four, maybe five hours a night. Seven hours is sleeping in for me. Don't get me wrong — I would love something beyond a ten minute "power nap" (another one of those pre-fab labels whose meaning completely eludes me), but the constraints of American time-sense — not to mention that pesky 24-hour solar cycle — make that next to impossible. I'm not whining. I'm just saying.
There's a plus side though — sleep deprivation, when utilized properly, can be an extremely effective creative tool. Once you've blurred the lines between dream and wakefulness, reality takes on a different hue. At least, that's what I keep telling myself.
On their debut album, The Dark Third, Pure Reason Revolution nimbly traverses such territories in a work that clearly establishes them as the new prog movement's best and brightest hope. What places this British quintet at the forefront of the neo progs is their uncanny ability to translate seventies progressive rock to a language relevant to the 21st century. They've managed this by drawing on contemporary influences such as Radiohead and Nirvana and tracing them back to what influenced those bands — Yes, Led Zeppelin and, of course, Pink Floyd. The result is an album that both pays homage to those influences, and transcends them.
While I would hesitate to label The Dark Third a "concept" album, its title alludes to that part of life that is spent in the sub-literate world of dream state. As such, it flits between idioms and musical time frames without regard to obvious references. This is most apparent on the almost twelve minute long "The Bright Ambassadors." The title itself being a reference to a line in Pink Floyd's Meddle, the track intros in a Fairport Convention meets Evanescence groove, transmutes into a melodic moment of strings and synths, evolves into a literary refrain reminiscent of William S. Burroughs as translated by Pink Floyd, and lopes into a Fleetwood Mac harmony interlude before shredding into a bass and drums driven climax that echoes Led Zeppelin's Coda days. In lesser hands, the resultant piece would have been chaos, but Pure Reason Revolution pull it all together seamlessly.