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CD REVIEW: PALE REASON - Anti-Industry
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CD REVIEW: PALE REASON
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5/5
"I can only see visions of sunlight and neon green grass rushing by with wind in my hair when I close my eyes while listening."
By Kristyn Cunningham
email :: avaricemurony
Pale Reason
One 11
3.5/5
"If you DONT find yourself enjoying this song on at least some level, you might just not own a soul."
By Scott Honsberger
email :: scotthonsberger

Favorite Tracks:
>> Always
>> Where You Go
>> 2 am

Strongly reminiscent of Rusted Root and Dave Matthews Band, Pale Reason is a jazzy, funky hippie band. Every song is packed full of grooving guitars and a piercing horn section- there probably isn't a better CD for a summertime road trip.

There really is nothing to complain about when it comes to musicianship. The vocals are flawless, a beautiful melding of male and female voices- a stunning harmony that's hard to accomplish with opposite gendered singers. The guitars are all flawless- they add a perfect peaceful feeling to the songs. They never overpower the song, but merely serve as a decorative background to the melody. I usually hate a horn section in bands, but Pale Reason's horns are well done, never overbearing or obnoxious.

"Where You Go" is lovely, a really peaceful tune that encompasses both vocalists' talent. Every time they harmonize I can't help but be amazed by how well their voices entwine. Although I have to admit that the female vocals don't stand as well on their own in other tunes. Jackie Gregory has a lovely voice, but she really doesn't have the power to make the songs soar like Dave Falcone, the other vocalist can. She has much more skill at adding beautiful, haunting harmonies than trying to take on a song on her own. Her harmonies are unbelievably beautiful but it seems like when she does a song on her own, she's afraid to let her voice fly. Falcone also has his own faults, such as "Home" when he tries to take on a fragile, sensitive tone to his voice and it comes off a little weak. "2 am," however, contains a painful trembling in his voice that is incredibly intense.

Clearly the vocals are really my favorite part of this album, since that's what I keep talking about. Maybe it's also because I really don't have enough adjectives for "serene" and "beautiful" for the rest of the music.

At first I thought that this CD kind of all sounded the same, but after subsequent listens I realized that each song really does have its own unique splendor. I can only see visions of sunlight and neon green grass rushing by with wind in my hair when I close my eyes while listening. The only problem I see with the CD is that it's kind of anticlimactic. It starts out with a lot of jazzy, upbeat tunes and by the end of the album, a good chunk of the songs are kind of slow and sleepy. I kept waiting for tunes that were closer to the upbeat highway songs that started the disc, but I found myself with heavy eyelids by the end of song 11.

There really is little that I don't like about this album. I guess I'm just kind of disappointed that the album really drifts off to dreamland towards the end. But considering that that's not a matter of a lack of talent but just poor arrangement of tracks, I think I have to give this an album a perfect score. I tried to find faults in it and I was pretty much unable to do so. This isn't an album for everyone, but for fans of upbeat hippie music, this is a stunning companion to the rest of your albums.


Favorite Tracks:
>> Pages Torn
>> Always
 

It's always interesting to visit a bands' website, especially if there'sa "Bio" section. After all, music is pretty much an expression of ones'personal experiences and influences, so it's nice to see where the members are coming from.

In the case of Philadelphia's Pale Reason, however, there are no surpriseswhen browsing the bands' list of influences. That's because their soundis so overtly defined, it's tough not to know exactly what's in their CD playersat any given moment. I'd hazard a guess that Dave Matthews doesn't roll through Philly without all 6 members in attendance....unless, of course, Pale Reason is spreading their own good natured sound at one of the local pubs on the same night.After all, the songs off of their 2003 release "One 11" indicate the bands truelove for doing what they do, and you can just see the smiles on their faces and the grooves in their feet while listening to the disc.

Groove, after all, is the core of this album. Take the drive-in-drive-out-ish "PagesTorn," for example. You simply cannot listen without bopping your head to drummerMatt Stanishewski's backbeat, a sign of a songs' groove fulfilling its' purpose. But whatreally makes the tune work is what is layered over top of said groove: Keenan Laird's sax rhythmically pointed riffs, the simple yet full sound of Jim DeSanto's guitar work, the atypical walking basslines crafted by Andrew Haas, and the interaction of both vocalists,Jackie Gregory and Dave Falcone, create a musical painting that is tough to resist. In fact,if you DONT find yourself enjoying this song on at least some level, you might just not owna soul.

So why so much focus on this one song? Well that's an easy one: listen to it, and you've justdefined Pale Reasons sound for yourself. Indeed, most of the songs on this album do havea similar feel, an impressive feat for a band's debut CD. All too often, bands are still searchingto define their sound. "One 11," however, is this bands statement: This is who we are, take it or leave it. So while their songs' structures do tend to lack some key polishing elements - the initial track, "It's about her", is about 2 minutes too long - there is no question that this band knows its'direction, and is not afraid to pursue it.

Pop this CD in your stereo, sit on your patio, invite your friends over and crack a few beers...it'll set the mood, and put smiles on the faces of your guests... and a groove in their hearts.

I'm sure that's exactly what Pale Reason intended.

Current Mood: chipper chipper

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