Posts Tagged ‘Electronic’

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[Review] The Dark Third – Pure Reason Revolution

December 3, 2008

Pure_Reason_Revolution_-_The_Dark_Third

I will assume you have not heard of Pure Reason Revolution before. They are a 4-piece Progressive Rock band formed in 2003 at the University of Westminster but originally formed in Reading, Berkshire under the name The Sunset Sound. Their sound is comparable to the likes of Porcupine Tree, Marillion and Pink Floyd. The credits for this album were; Chloë Alper, Jon Courtney, Andrew Courtney, James Dobson, Gregory Kong and Jamie Willcox. Two members, Dobson and Andrew Courtney left in November 2006 with Jong leaving in  early 2005 so I am not very certain on how much work he did for this.

They have released various singles and EPs but today I am reviewing, their debut album The Dark Third which was released on April the 10th 2006 by Holograph (Sony BMG) later to be dropped due to low record sales and they are now with Superball Music recording their latest. But do not let Sony’s miss judgement colour your opinion of this great band. The album title is referring to the ‘dark third’; this is the third of our lives we spend asleep and dreaming.

As a summary they are well known and loved, rightfully so for their fantastic vocal harmonising. I have not been blessed with this impressive sound in any other way similar to this album, with four vocalists all extremely talented this really does set them apart as I said. This is what got me it hooked in the first place, I was listening to my last.fm recommendations radio and all of a sudden, bam. Goshen’s Remains came on and I knew these guys were incredible.

Aeropause, a great opening track in my opinion. This is where PRR get to show us their great instrumental work by creating a relaxing, calm and psychedelic starter which is obviously why I mentioned Pink Floyd earlier. Nothing exactly stands out here, quite like a Floyd track does with sudden outbreaks of great keyboard solo’s or guitar but still nevertheless a great modern take on psychedelic music with PRR’s common electro flavour. This is really the only track with a true psychedelic sound. PRR do however keep bringing it back. Goshen’s Remains, right from the very beginning the guitar carries you into this special place, a soothing place. The outstanding vocal harmonies begin and it is like heaven. This track shows off their more heavier grunge sound later on, which I adore and suits them very well.

You might be thinking to yourselves in doubt at this point as to how all these different genres can be mixed so beautifully, it is similar to that of Fair to Midland. It just works! Some albums I find myself really disliking sudden changes in sound and often say to myself “this isn’t needed, keep to X sound.” As I said they have an electro sound to them which I bring up now as they layer it on top perfectly. It is not traditional electronic music however, it is more electronic pops and farts, space age beats added in to their classic sound.

Although they are heavily reliant on their vocal harmonising in which the guys harmonise with Chloë and sing the back up, Apprentice of the Universe does not feature Chloë on vocals for the first couple of minutes which brings a nice change to the table.

Their darker sound, comparable to the likes of Marillion and Porcupine Tree as I said above is most prominent for the first minute or so of Nimos & Tambos and for me was a great surprise, I am a huge fan of the neo-prog subgenre and they do not disappoint in this field. The drum work is also fantastic on this song, simple rhythms to complex patterns, Andrew can do it all.

As a conclusion then, a remarkable debut that really shows me that this band is going places. I do think instrumentally there is room for improvement, or more epicness. You know, let them break out into an amazing solo or two. Really though I am nitpicking, the sound they create would not exactly need this. I just feel it could be one way for them to progress and bring in a wider audience. I personally would like to hear some more electronic work as well to bring them even further apart from anything else I have heard.

[B+] A different sound to most Prog Rock album’s that shouldn’t disappoint. Dark and upbeat. Powerful, yet calm.

Written by Oliver Sayers

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[Review] Patrick Wolf – Lycanthropy

December 3, 2008

lycanthropy

Okay, since no one has really touched on the subject of this album on the internet, I thought I may as well. With Patrick Wolf being talented with many instruments and being so young when creating this album, it’s quite easy to imagine it’s going to be a large clash of sounds. In many respects it is a clash of sounds, but with the edges smoothed to help blend in all these different instruments and sounds.

While Prelude may not be the most exciting opening I’ve ever heard for an album, it quickly decends into Wolf Song which harbours many of Wolf’s folk influences. With Patrick’s nice and soothing (yet camp!) vocals emerging, it’s already safe to assume you’re in the hands of a man who knows how to write a song. From the pounding drums to the hand claps to guitar, it just shines with positive energy. This is one of the corners of music that Wolf covers, with many more corners to go.

Bloodbeat is the first taste of his electro side in his music, with the precussion and synths on full attack, it’s a nice change. The song goes through a range of emotions, with haunting vocals echoing in the chorus and Patrick’s voice singing over the top gives a weird twist to the song.

To The Lighthouse is a great song and combines the best of the previous two songs, with folk and electro both on the cards, the folktronica quickly assembles itself. While this song does feel similar, it’s a refreshing mix of everything great so far. With a lack of sight of anything string based for a while, it’s no suprise Pigeon Song emerges from the shadows with a sound which later largely dictate the sound of Wind In The Wires, soothing but no one my favourites on the album.

Don’t Say No is yet again a trip to the folktronica section, on a seperate I think the blyrics are somewhat something that have always sat in my head and something I doubt I will ever forget.

“I used to say just follow your heart
But my heart always led me in circles
And I used to say just follow your dreams
But my dreams always led me to murder”

While I think it’s quite obvious that Wolf has never murdered anyone, I do feel they do corrospond strongly to real life events which may have effected, possibly regreting things he has done in life?

The Childcatcher is a song I can’t stand, quite a depressing song, yet again the lyrics are somewhat quite notable. With such a strong emphasis on Patrick’s vocals and lyrics, I feel they are horrible, yet something you won’t forget. Personally I try to avoid this song and I advise you too as well, but the electro bits are really cool. So it could be worth checking out if you can get past the vocals. This song is followed by Demolition which I have to admit is very good, but feels more ambient and instrumental rather than a full blown song. It’s good and a song that shines out to me on the album, even if at first it appears gloomy, there’s not enough in this song to write that much about it apart from the vocals not being as powerful as always, but still good, I guess.

London and Paris would personally be my favourite tracks of the album, London starting off with chilling sustained notes from the voices of women before a cool drum beat drops into the back, quite an awesome opening to the song. Quickly it turns into more material that sounds like Wind In The Wires, with strings appearing and the cool drums quikly reappearing. It makes a good combination, I recommend this song above all the others, worth checking out in every respect. Paris is quite a misleading song, as it starts off with violins(?) and quickly goes into probably what I consider the heaviest electro beat off the album so far. This song is also worth checking out.

Now we reach a small decline in the album with Peter Pan being too basic and short compared to the rest of the album and A Boy Like Me having probably the worst electronic sounds on the album by a long way and I just found Lycanthropy boring. I personally advise you to check these songs out yourself to judge, but I am not a fan of any of those.

Epilogue is a short and a sweet song that really feels like it could have been something more and replaced the last three tracks. With some interesting ‘glitchy’ effects in the song it really gives something unique to it, it’s worth checking out.

Now if only more artists were willing to cross genres to this extent. This album was followed by Wind In The Wires, which you get deja vu slightly from this album with some of it’s string-based and acoustic tracks. That was then followed by The Magic Position which was a return to the genre-crossing.

[B+] Brilliant album that engrosses you all the way, through the melodic and wonderful, to dark and weird.

Written by Christopher Kenrick