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The Reasoning - 'Live In The USA - The Bottle Of Gettysburg' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     June 15, 2012    
 
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A really good live album showcasing a very talented band.

The Reasoning have been around since 2007 and during that period have seen more than a few changes in personnel; however there have been several constants in their history; namely Rachel Cohen (vocals), Matthew Cohen (bass), their ability to create great songs and the quality of their live performances.

I’ve seen them a number of times and they’ve never failed to deliver anything other than a first class set and this recording from last year’s Rites of Spring Festival (RosFest) in Pennsylvania really proves the point very nicely. The audience may come across as somewhat subdued compared to those at the band’s UK gigs, which is a shame because it does reduce the atmosphere. That’s no fault of the band because they play a blinder. I applaud them for putting out what sounds to me an authentic live album and not one that’s been embellished or tinkered with in the studio. That shows great confidence in what they do, rightly so in my opinion, and also gives them huge credibility too. As a set for a festival and a new audience (I believe this was the band’s first US trip) they couldn’t have structured it better, every facet of the band is shown without ever wandering into indulgence, thus keeping everyone interested.

After a terrific intro tape (I love bands that make the sort of effort rather than just wandering on stage) they plunge into a driving version of ‘Diamonds & Leather’, which is a fine way to start a gig. Everything that is good about this band is encompassed in this song, melody, hooks, harmonies and exceptional musicianship. The sound is crisp with excellent separation between the instruments with Matthew’s bass work being a particular delight. Owain Roberts’ guitar solo is similarly wonderful; it’s a trait that holds true across the entire album.

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The splendid ‘Fallen Angel’ is up next and it highlights the band’s song-writing ability because the dual (male/female) vocal arrangement is wonderful, the harmonies are amazing and the chorus is instantly memorable. ‘Sharp Sea’ is a beautiful piece, from the symphonic opening instrumental right thorough its various tempo changes, while ‘The Thirteenth Hour’ rocks nicely with some fine gritty guitar. ‘How Far to Fall?’ changes the pace and features splendid performances both vocally and on keyboards from Tony Turrell. It would be remiss of me not to mention the super contribution of drummer Jake Bradford-Sharp who holds down the beat wonderfully.

It’s a nice touch that they’ve left in Rachel’s self-confessed ‘geeky’ song intros which add to the flavour of the show. I could name every song as a highlight but encores, ‘Dark Angel’ and ‘Aching Hunger’ deserve special mention. At the conclusion of the set the crowd have clearly warmed up and their appreciation is evident.

If anyone needs an introduction to The Reasoning this isn’t a bad place to start; it’s a really good live album showcasing a very talented band.

Gary Marshall

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