The very first time I heard a song of The Reasoning, I was very impressed. The title track of their debut album Awakening (2007) hit me right in the face. The three excellent vocalists and the fine compositions really did it for me, but to be honest this burning flame extinguished a bit when I saw them live perform on YouTube. The achievements of this vocal trio didn't meet my expectations and I guess the band must have felt the same. They started to reorganize and after the sudden loss of guitarist Owain Roberts, who didn't return from a long walk, a new guitar player had to be found. So now founding member and bass player Matthew Cohen (ex-Magenta) and his spouse and singer Rachel Cohen (ex-Karnataka) are the only ones left from the original line-up. The new members who came to reinforce the band are drummer Jake Bradford Sharp, keyboardist Tony Turrell and the latest addition guitarist Keith Hawkins.
Since the departure of vocalist-guitarist Dylan Thompson, The Reasoning became a band with only one singer. It's a pity that by doing so they've a lost part of their identity since the vocalists shared the lead and melody vocals which gave the band an excess value compared to other bands in the genre. However, their latest album Adventures In Neverland is still impressive. A song like Hyperdrive still meets that old feeling, but this time the background vocals won't do the trick. New guitarist Keith Hawkins plays a number of great solos on the album. He can really be regarded to be a great addition; his more powerful and sometimes metal-like approach as in Stop The Clock or The Omega Point works fine with the overall sound.
I get the impression that the music has been built too much around Rachel Cohen's vocals and therefore it remains slightly on the safe side. A bit more power and energy wouldn't have harmed the compositions. The album now sounds a bit as a blend of classic rock and prog rock with a folk-influenced voice. Songs like No Friend Of Mine, The Glass Half and the title track are still great, but the softer songs No Friend Of Mine, Otherworld and End Of Days sound a bit mediocre to me. Although I still like the band - they're just great live on stage (see review) - the compositions lack a bit of an identity.
I know it's hard to compare a band's debut album to one that has been recorded much later, especially when the band's line-up has changed as dramatically as The Reasoning's. But I have to compliment guitarist Keith Hawkins for his inspired guitar playing, although the majority of the compositions sounded a bit too mediocre to stand out to other albums. I do like Rachel's voice, but a bit more alternation would surely have improved the songs. In my head I still hear the combination of the three former vocalists comparing them to the background vocals on Adventures In Neverland. I realized that this unique combination won't return. What remains is an album I only play when I have visitors. I use it as a kind of muzak, because it's also acceptable for people who don't like prog rock.
*** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013