I bought Rush's brand new studio album "Clockwork Angels" yesterday, in the sumptuous and shiny fan-pack edition designed to separate easily distracted, wide-eyed mouth-gapers like me from their coin.
First couple of plays and it's a belter! The Power Trio is back big style rockin and riffin some of the heaviest stuff they've done since the early days. They are keyboards about, but mostly in a subdued and cosmetic kinda way. It's the classic guitar, bass and drums set up that's on potent display here, following on from the similarly organic "Snakes and Arrows" album. If anything, this album is even more stripped back and cranked up than "Snakes".
It transpires that writing and recording most of the songs either during or after the lengthy 'Time Machine" tour has injected the band with a vitality and fire that comes through on the performances captured in the album. Certainly, the two new songs aired back then surprised and tantalised with their old school heaviness, especially "Caravan". Apparently, even the hyper-methodical Neil Peart and Geddy Lee were gently nudged into improvising stuff from the off, galvanised by the fun they had playing early material and jamming round it on the tour.
The album successfully marries the rawness of a jamming three piece with the complexity that Rush are known for in much of their work to joyous effect. And....it's a concept album! Gleep!
If, like me, when you first played "Snakes & Arrows" you thought "Wow! That's really Rush!", then I hope, if you're a fan, when you play "Clockwork Angels" you'll go "Fuck!! That's REAALLLY RUSH!"