Pure Reason Revolution – Eupnea
Pure Reason Revolution (PRR) were formed in London in 2003 with members from Reading and released three superb albums before splitting up in 2011. I saw them in Nottingham on their last tour in November of that year. They played all their debut album ‘The Dark Third’ and I even had a chat with all of them afterwards. It is an album which many would consider to be their best. The band reformed in 2019 as a duo of Chloe Alper on vocals, bass and keyboards and Jon Courtney on vocals, guitars and keyboards. In April 2020, they released their fourth album ‘Eupnea’. The drums on the album were programmed by the band and then played by session drummer Geoff Dugmore. The album has six songs, a running time of forty-seven minutes and is a concept album. It is a tribute to the birth of Jon’s daughter who was on an incubator to help her breathe properly (she is fine now). For this reason, it is called Eupnea. It means natural and normal breathing in mammals.
Sound effects of hospital equipment and a synth pad signals the opening of “New Obsession”. It is a heavy electro-rock track with a five-minute runtime. A great album opener and I love the way the distorted synths sound like guitars. The little piano bits are beautiful too.
“Silent Genesis” was released as a YouTube video in March 2020. It is at a slower tempo to “New Obsession” and is a ten-minute slow burner with some wonderful arpeggios throughout the song. There is also some beautiful wordless singing during the first three minutes. There is a wonderful synth solo and some funk influenced Hammond organ that would be familiar to any fans of Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ album. It has moments that are quite heavy and PRR do the hard rock stuff very well. One of the highlights of the album.
“Maelstrom” is the closest to a ballad on the album with some delightful piano playing but some very heavy drumming throughout the song. It has elements of modern pop music in the chorus, but this does not make it cheesy but just another way of writing a song that has mass appeal.
“Ghosts & Typhoons” is another slice of up-tempo electro-rock and was released as another video on the day the album was released (yesterday at time of writing). The guitars and drums are drenched in reverb and sound big and bold with some solid riffs that remind me a bit of Muse. The song also has Chloe and Jon’s voices singing in unison and give it a welcome feminine and delicate touch. Another highlight of the album.
“Beyond Our Bodies” is another of the two ballads (though it does get heavy about half-way through). It is not a bad song at all and there is a lot to like about it. I really like the unison vocals and the guitar solo is cool. The calm before the storm of the next and final song.
Title and closing track ‘Eupnea’ is the longest song on the album and describes the birth and hospital journey with the highs and lows. With an atmospheric Pink Floyd style intro, there are a lot of dark and heavy riffs but also some beautiful moments as well with lots of synth interludes and the combination of Chloe and Jon’s voices (a representation of the journey). I especially love the arpeggios on this song. Probably my favourite song on the album.
The album has elements of the last three albums but also has its own identity with influences from alternative rock, progressive rock, metal, hard rock, funk, electronica (though more IDM than house and trance) with even a bit of classical and pop music in there too. In some ways it may even be even better than their first album, especially on the stunning title track. Like so many of the albums I have enjoyed recently, I have found that the longest songs are my favourites and ‘Eupnea’ is no different. To those of us who will hear the album, PRR have breathed new life (pun intended) into one of the worst years in human history (a virus that affects the lungs has killed many people). Welcome back guys.