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The Reasoning - Acoustically Speaking CD (album) cover

ACOUSTICALLY SPEAKING

The Reasoning

 

Crossover Prog

3.77 | 24 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars As much as I've always liked The Reasoning and purchased all of their releases to date, I often find this UK crossover-prog band to be a case of conflicting personalities! Their music frequently has a somewhat uncomfortable balance between heavier rock and far too pretty delicate female vocals that seem oddly out of place. Even on their `Live at High Voltage' DVD, there's a humorous interview with some of the band members considering themselves a metal band, the others saying they're a prog band, and this kind of confusion is evident in most of their work. But then comes this acoustic release `Acoustically Speaking' to keep us guessing some more! One thing there's no confusion about, though - it's their best album so far.

Covering tracks from their previous studio albums and giving them an acoustic makeover, mostly based around guitar, piano and light drumming/percussion, these new interpretations make the pieces sound better than they ever have before. The acoustic format gives their music a more forlorn, mournful and melancholic tone that is sometimes lost in the bluster and hard-rocking noise of their other studio albums, and it allows you to truly focus on the words in these dreamy, reflective and atmospheric reinterpretations.

Both Rachel Cohen and Dylan Thompson have always had two very distinctive voices that strangely blend well together, with a lot of character and lived-in qualities that make you listen to their every note. There's many little moments on this album where their vocals are very touching and wrap around each-other to exquisite results, and Tony Turrell's ghostly electric piano has many standout moments as well. Any listeners who appreciate a well written collection of progressive influenced acoustic ballads should enjoy this work immensely. Fans of Rachel's from the early Karnataka albums like `The Storm' may also appreciate the softer music presented here.

There's a few highlights to especially mention. One of my favourite Reasoning songs `The Thirteenth Hour' kicks off the album, and this confident folk/acoustic rock interpretation has quickly become not only my preferred version, but one of my favourite tracks from the band overall. `Script Switch Trigger' is a particularly sad reading, while the middle takes on a beautiful dreamy ambience. Darren gives an aching and very human delivery on `Sacred Shape', I especially love when he joins in with Rachel during the second half, and it's one track here that works especially well due to the slight rearranging and tweaking of the vocal melody. `Within Cold Glass' takes on a surprising reggae style, but it still sounds perfectly appropriate here. `A Musing Dream' creates a successful mix of light and shade, with some tip-toeing ghostly electric piano that raises the tension nicely and creates an air of mystery and drama, yet it comes back around for an uplifting and grand finale.

With a lovely and restrained front cover (would have looked very striking on vinyl, as would all their albums - take the hint, band members!), `Acoustically Speaking' stands as a perfectly fine work on it's own, and is certainly not some mere lazy rehash of past work by the band. It would also serve as a fine introduction to the band by newcomers, who would surely be impressed by the quality of the writing and performing here. Those wanting their usual mix of heavy rock and prog should look elsewhere in their discography, but this one makes for a fine soundtrack to a quiet night in or a pleasant evening drive. To these ears, it's the best and most consistent work this great band have released to date.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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