CD Reviews

The Reasoning - 'Adverse Camber' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 17, 2010    
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Super album, but a running time of 40 minutes takes the adage 'less is more' a bit too far.

This is The Reasoning’s third album and sees them making some changes to their line up. Departed from the scene are Gareth Jones (vocals & keyboards) and Vinden Wylde (drums) to be replaced by Maria Owen (vocals), Tony Turrell (keyboards & backing vocals) and Jake Bradford-Sharp (drums). I had some misgivings when I heard that Gareth was no longer part of the team because I felt that taking his particular voice away from the triumvirate that had been established would be detrimental to their sound.

I have to admit that my initial impression of the album had me pondering whether my preconceptions had been all too accurate, but that’s one of the reasons why I have a rule about never reviewing an album until I’ve given it my full attention for a minimum of five run throughs. With those repeated plays has come the necessary familiarity and therefore the realisation that although there’s a difference in the sound, because of the change in vocal dynamics, the band’s underlying quality in song writing and arrangement is still very much in evidence and in fact Owen’s distinctive style has really added a new dimension to the sound. The clincher for me was the track ‘Through the Now’ where all three of the vocalists get to take the lead at one point or another and Maria demonstrates great class with her wonderfully rounded tones that are truly spine-tingling. It is a stunning song where the band excels at very aspect. Check out the triple vocal arrangement for evidence. I’m sure I can convey how special this song is, let’s just say I’ve been playing a lot.

The album opens in fine style with a song (‘Diamonds & Leather’) which has all the hallmarks we have come to expect from the band. A gritty riff with a modern edge, Rachel Cohen’s inimitable vocals and Dylan Thompson’s backing vocals. Add to this we now have Owen’s lovely tones giving even more depth. The melody is strong and there’s also some fine guitar interplay that brings the song to a close.

‘The Nobody Effect’ is a particularly delightful song with a wonderful melody and an annoyingly good chorus where Renaissance comes to mind. An injection of Prog Metal guitar provides an interesting juxtaposition to the song’s initial feel. I assume this Dream Theater-ish burst is courtesy of Owain Roberts who gets a co-write on this song. In true Prog fashion it moves through several themes before returning to the initial one. ‘The 13th Hour’ is another treasure to behold with a quite fabulous arrangement. It starts with an Arabic feel and moves into a multiple vocal that this sensational. Matthew Cohen delivers some fine bass motifs and the guitar and keyboards do some Prog dueling towards the end.

‘Script-Switch Trigger’ changes the mood with a quiet piano and acoustic guitar refrain that is then overlaid by Rachel’s delightful vocals. Just when you think it can’t get any better, it does. The pace increases and the three vocalists are at it again, with each one bouncing off the other in brilliant fashion. Rachel has the lead but Thompson and Owen contribute immeasurably. The guitar solo has Dave Gilmour (Pink Floyd) and Steve Rothery (Marillion) overtones and is another highlight.

Closing track ‘14’ has a modern-ish riff and more great bass although the up-tempo start gives way to a slower slightly Goth feel that makes me think, a bit, of Within Temptation. Once more the chorus is memorable and the multi-part vocal arrangement is splendid. The switch to Owen’s vocal is terrific and shifts the mood wonderfully as does the burst of guitar later in the piece.

Yes, this is a super album, but I have to comment on the brevity of it. I know that at times I criticize bands who feel they have to use every second of a CDs capacity when they’d be better off putting just their best songs on there, but in this case I think 40 minutes is taking the adage, ‘less is more’ a bit too far. It’s a shame to finish on a negative so I’ll just say that I’m still glad I paid my money and acquired this gem.

Gary Marshall

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