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Approach Without Caution,
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This review is from: Cautionary Tales For The Brave (Audio CD)
CDs usually come in "jewel cases" but rarely do those cases contain jewels as bright as "Cautionary Tales for the Brave".
Here we are witnessing the return of the music genre that dare not speak its name: progressive rock. Once it was a revered and world-conquering genre led by giants like Yes and Pink Floyd. Among other things they were inspired by the barrier-pushing explorations of artists like the Beatles and the Who, the possibilities offered by new instruments such as the synthesiser, and the more sophisticated recording facilities becoming available in the late sixties. It may be unfashionable to say so but a lot of the resulting music was very good. By the mid-seventies though, many (not all) prog rock bands had become too remote and self-absorbed. The back to basics movement of punk rendered them uncool if not necessarily unpopular. So prog returned from whence it came: underground.
But now another wave of bands is coming. A wave of bands producing grander, more ornate sounds than we've heard in quite a while. And riding the crest of that wave is Pure Reason Revolution. This mini-album, clocking in at a little under thirty minutes, introduces us to a band intent on creating richly varied and multi-layered music that is opulent and immediate. "Cautionary Tales..." is brimming with magical melodies, seductive vocal harmonies and agile guitars. Embellished in true prog fashion by voluptuous keyboards and anchored by rock-solid drums. It features the epic "Bright Amabassadors of Morning" and other songs that are shorter but no less exotic. The effect is reminiscent of Yes especially in their seventies heyday, not least in the welcoming, embracing atmosphere they create.
After the eleven-minute journey of "Bright Ambassadors of Morning" you might expect the rest of the album to be an anti-climax, but gladly it is far from it as PRR surge forward through "Arrival"/"The Intention Craft" with the power and grace of a racehorse. The more delicate harmonic interplay of "He Tried To Show Them Magic" is followed by the concluding track, a brief "Bright Ambassadors" reprise. Well, of course! This is prog rock after all. And it is, frankly, gorgeous.