REVIEW: New Rush album worthy of classic rock group’s stature
Did anybody know Rush released a new album this year?
Somehow I missed the news. It’s been a few years since the Canadian trio dropped an album, and, honestly I hadn’t thought much about the band since chuckling at Jason Segal and Paul Rudd’s obsession with Rush in the movie “I Love You Man.”
When I finally got hip to the new album (like nearly two months late, sheesh!) I snagged the download and ripped off the plastic ...
I love digital downloads of music. I really do. You can’t beat the convenience and immediacy. It’s super great and awesome. But, man, I miss having to wait until you got home, or at least back to the car, to rip the plastic off and enjoy that newfound musical treasure.
End of Sidenote.
Anyway, I snagged the download and fired it up in my iTunes.
“Clockwork Angels” is good. It’s really good: chock full of seven-minute epic rock concertos that manage to somehow balance length and interest. The tracks don’t feel long because the band does such a good job of taking each song through a kind of metamorphosis, a musical evolution so, as a listener, you end up somewhere very different from where you started.
That’s one of my favorite things about Rush. They understand how to construct music. The band uses every tool and technique at their disposal to create soundscapes that tell stories.
Neal Peart’s lyrics tend to form encampments among critics. Most either hate ‘em or love ‘em. I’m more or less ambivalent. But Rush has always been about the music for me. The lyrics are background — melodious statements that blend together.
I used to be annoyed that Rush had vocals at all. I found Geddy Lee’s voice distracting and the lyrical elements unnecessary. But on this new record, I’m really enjoying the vocal melodies. Lee’s voice has matured and softened over the years. It’s not the harsh wail I remember from the earlier albums. There’s a pleasant grittiness, an edge to his vocal that fits very nicely into the timbre of the band as a whole.
“Clockwork Angels” is worth a listen, not just because it’s the 19th studio effort from a classic prog rock band. This album stands alone as great work in its own right from a group of musicians who are undisputedly masters of the form.
Timothy Hankins is a writer and musician based in Knoxville. Contact him at (firstname.lastname@example.org) or follow him on Twitter: @hnkns.