It’s been a rough year for The Reasoning after the disappearance of guitarist Owain Roberts who was reportedly missing in March of this year and there’s an ongoing search to bring him back safe and sound. The band is still worried about what happened to him, but they have Owain in their heart and soul and let him know they still care for him and hope that he’s okay.
And since with their announcement on being signed to Mark Powell’s new label for up-and-coming bands/artists with Esoteric Antenna, it all makes perfect sense to be signed with one of the most independent prog labels that has been around reissuing obscure albums since 2007 and now helping new bands getting a lot of recognition. That and their new album, Adventures in Neverland, has a spiritual and dramatic journey on their story and looking forward into the future on what has happened and what will the long and winding road will take them into.
The opening introduction, Hyperdrive, starts off with a countdown and then goes into a heavy rocking exploration into the outer limits with Keith Hawkins’ guitar lines, keyboards, bass work, and Rachel Cohen’s vocals, feels very sci-fi and deeper elements that makes them feel that they could have written a concept album on the TV series, Firefly. The alarming guitar punches feels like its looking for its prey on The Omega Point before going into this gentle and haunting middle-eastern surround atmosphere in the piece while The Glass Half carries the spooky metallic elements like a mysterious creature coming from another planet.
It has the synths, Brian May-like guitar sound, Matt Cohen’s bass work, and smoothing drum works by giving Rachel dancing to the beat and coming in by dealing how to be remembered as the only survivor on the post-apocalyptic planet. It all comes to the driving energy beat of Stop the Clock which it’s the catchiest and soothing songs by dealing with trying to race and escape the dystopian world before it collapses and dealing how blind the place has become with corruption as the piece has some similarities of Rush’s modern work as if it was left off the sessions for Grace Under Pressure.
Otherworld begins with a lullaby keyboard introduction done by Tony Turrell as he takes Rachel into a calm after the storm which deals with moving on and the struggles on breaking down the door and finding out who you are and not running away in this moving ballad. You can tell that Rachel’s got an amazing angelic voice that makes you feel that she’s right behind you to calm you down and lets the listener know that everything’s okay.
I can also tell there is some Alternative Rock flavor in the Reasoning’s work as its evidential with End of Days which the band go into the dreamland mode about the heart of human kind is coming to an end while the fierce and synth freak-out turned ballad mode on No Friend of Mine deals with the corruption on the Social Network and how its affecting the teenager’s mind and alienating their friends and being an isolated person. The lyrics are poignant as Rachel sings about keeping distance away from your loved ones and dealing with the person’s dark side; "It might be best to wait a little longer/listen carefully, there’s so much I need to say/do you really dare to think you know me?/always quick to decide but if you live another day/Keep your distance.” Threnody is another track that I imagine the band might have been reading a lot of the stories from the DC universe and Sci-Fi stories as well for research by going into this album.
It is another dramatic swirling composition that has some virtuoso guitar sound, layered upbeats, and hypnotic keyboard work as the lyrics talk about what do you want in return after shaking hands with the devil and being betrayed by getting out of the mess from being tortured and how it can be done not to make the mistakes you’ve made and how you’ve let your friends down in the lost and found section.
Forest in the Hands and Teeth has this Atmospheric/New Age sound as it goes into the sounds of Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra period with its gentle folk lukewarm crisp that has this strange combination of gothic/horror fairy-tale for adults in the realms of Edgar Allen Poe meets HP Lovecraft while the closing title track resembles the era of Pink Floyd’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason. The 7-minute piece begins with Keith’s guitar playing doing a Gilmour-sque introduction as it appears to go into Symphonic Town about going into the world of Neverland and seeing how its beautiful and surreal it has become.
Wonderous, Moody, Magical, and Beautiful, Adventures in Neverland is The Reasoning’s finest work and has a Sci-Fi Rock Opera flavor to support the elements in their musical career. The Reasoning surely bring an atmospheric fairy tale compositions in their work and they have done a superb job, a highly recommended album to listen to.