When Rush are on top form, which is pretty much most of the time, they are simply unstoppable. The three Canadian musicians are so well respected that for almost other Progressive Rock band to take five years between recording and publishing studio albums would be sacrilege and could spell long term disaster for the group.
However Rush are Rush, possibly the greatest thing to come out of Canada aside the first visual accounts of Niagara Falls, and if they want to take time out between 2007’s Snakes and Arrows and follow it up with this near masterpiece of Rock music titled Clockwork Angels then the fans would have surely waited and waited and waited some more.
Clockwork Angels is the 20th studio album by the band and with only a couple of blips over a near 40 year career; they have rarely put a foot wrong. Always innovative, Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee and Neil Peart have stayed at the top of the Progressive Rock tree by giving the fans what they want, music that ebbs and flows like time, always singular and always to be trusted. It’s not every band of the genre that you pretty well understand what they are going to give you even before the wrapping has come of the album.
Clockwork Angels has been available for a while in other formats, with a well-known music magazine offering the chance to have one of those collector magazines that periodically entice people in. However if you avoided the previous hype, then the album in its proper state will be a highlight of the year, especially considering the abundance and quality of some of the recordings that have already found their way into the public’s collections by now.
To some detractors, the lyrics will stand out as nothing more than school boy poetry, not deserving accolade after tribute. However break it down, take in the music first, add the lyrics, really scan them up close and personal and you will see what the talk is about…together they blend in some sort of perfect soup that really is good for the soul.
Stand out tracks on Clockwork Angels, well there is no bad track to go up against but if push comes to the shove then the tracks Carnies. The Anarchist and The Wreckers are pure music gold and never once allow the listener to settle into some sort of music induced coma as other bands may allow their fans to do.
It may have been five years since we heard the searing high vocals of Geddy Lee, the un-corruptible sound of Alex Lifeson on guitars and the majesty that is Neil Peart on drums but it doesn’t matter, five months, five years or ten…they are back and Rush still have the power to be awesome.
Ian D. Hall