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Pure Reason Revolution: Eupnea

Eupnea, the comeback album that we’d thought would never arrive, is most notable for one thing. It sounds, if nothing else, like it was made because Pure Reason Revolution wanted to make it. Ostensibly now a duo of Jon Courtney (vocals, guitars and keyboards) and Chloë Alper (vocals, bass, keyboards) the pair reconnected when the former found himself writing new material that simply didn’t fit into the mould of his current outfit, Bullet Height, and decided the only course of action was to turn the key and restart the beast. Thankfully Alper agreed and boosted by the song writing talents of original, pre The Dark Third album, guitarist Greg Jong, Eupnea was born.

The one constant in this band’s evolution was always not just the ability to change but having the nerve to do so when it wasn’t necessarily what people expected, or, dare I say, desired? That willingness to go against expectations resulted in a pair of albums that then embraced a more electronic side but for this unexpected outburst that era has been pretty much shelved. That may be a little disingenuous, what with the sprawling epic sound of Hammer And Anvil undoubtedly still present here, but maybe the least surprising aspect is that PRR, even after a long absence, continue to expand their outlook. And yet, that the combination of Courtney and Alper’s voices can sound like no one else or that they have a predilection for combining snarling, snapping exchanges to beautiful, angelic sounds, means that while Eupnea doesn’t feel like any of the albums that preceded it, there’s no denying the results can only be Pure Reason Revolution.

“Maelstrom” maybe shows the bravery on display here, the exposed manner in which both singers are presented together and apart would be produced out of most albums. Instead its fragility is used as a huge strength and then propelled by drummer Geoff Dugmore, as a biting riff fires a lingeringly memorable melody into the stratosphere. “New Obsession” on the other hand adds a more biting edge, twin vocals pushing and shoving against a grating riff as intricacies add shards of light, while “Beyond Our Bodies” spends its time in a more introspective and emotional stance. A slight pop sheen added just as you least expected it but still, even here, there’s little by way of compromise.

All that said, it may be the title track that most strongly gathers together aspects from this band’s past and presents them in a new light, with jagged riffs playing off against tumbling drums and then, just as the senses are about to break, some heart tugging vocals and piano strikes pull everything back down into a more progressively rewarding ebb and flow. Although even then it’s no surprise that this brooding brew would result in ever more forceful guitars and glittering vocal combinations. With “Ghosts & Typhoons” maybe leaning most strongly into the Floydian stylings of this band and “Silent Genesis” adding some more electronic tones, Pure Reason Revolution aren’t ignoring their past, they are embracing it, reshaping it and celebrating it. Thankfully however, they are still determined not to be defined by it.

Track Listing
1. New Obsession
2. Silent Genesis 
3. Maelstrom 
4. Ghosts & Typhoons
5. Beyond Our Bodies 
6. Eupnea 

Added: April 21st 2020
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Eupnea @ Inside Out
Hits: 876
Language: english

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