Rush - Clockwork Angels
With three lifetime's worth of musical collaboration under their respective belts, Rush are no doubt one of our few remaining musical entities so experienced and accomplished. With a semi-recent and unexpected rise in popularity, the band that earned it's reputation for hard work both in the studio and especially live seems to have finally, after four decades, found their niche in popular culture. The buzz around Clockwork Angels has been rampant since the band's Time Machine Tour, where they debuted the album's two lead tracks, "Caravan" and "BU2B".
As I have mentioned in past reviews, Rush are without a doubt my absolute favorite band and have been for some time. There isn't a record amongst their deep discography that I do not own, and do not enjoy to some extent. Each new album is, for me and I'm sure many other fans, bittersweet. Sweet that they keep on rolling, bitter that this might very well be the last one. The boys certainly aren't getting any younger. But, to listen to Clockwork Angels, it's really a challenge to find the expected wrinkles of age and exhaustion. "Caravan" blazes a fiery trail straight out of the gate, providing one of the album's most accessible singles. "BU2B" is a more tempered example of the same, with a big, soaring chorus and a good chunk of some of Neil Peart's best work lyrically on the record. On that front, Clockwork Angels is indeed a conceptual piece, but it has the flexibility of working on a track-by-track basis without the necessary liner notes needed to flesh the story out. These are provided, but are by no means necessary towards fully enjoying the record. As the record progresses, many stand-alone highlights surface, such as the gritty "Carnies", the far too short heartfelt sentiment of "Halo Effect", and the big and spacious arena rock of "Seven Cities of Gold". Over the album's second half, "The Wreckers" provides a side of Rush that I can't remember having heard in quite some time, reminding of the early 90's, Counterparts - Test For Echo sound. "Headlong Flight" may just be the album's most impacting track, an extremely uptempo reminder of the band's youth recaptured in a much more grounded and fundamentally proficient foundation. With an easily relatable lyrical subject, inspired riffage from Mr. Lifeson, Geddy's bass acrobatics and some tremendous fills from the Professor, "Headlong Flight" is the band at their absolute best. The only track on the album that could possibly stand next to it is the moving, anthemic "The Garden", which reveals a sound Rush have rarely dabbled in. The line, "The measure of a life/is a measure of love and respect/so hard to earn, so easily burned" is forever engraved in my memory, as is the simple beauty of the entire song.
Long story short, Clockwork Angels is Rush through and through, a progressively written, catchy piece of hard rock that hums with what can only be considered an undying passion for musical craftsmanship that is altogether lacking in the wide majority of music today. So very few ever get it right, and one of the main reasons is because so many attempt to dumb it down with formulas and skewed expectations. Geddy, Alex and Neil have always felt their way through the darkness of the business of music, never reaching for the lifelines of greedy passerbys. This reflects in their music today like it did all those years ago on classics like 2112 and Moving Pictures. And, due to the empassioned songwriting and flawless execution, I hereby declare that Clockwork Angels deserves to be named side-by-side with Rush's best.
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on 2012-07-14 SolitaryMan Said:
That might be a stretch for some, but I haven't fully enjoyed a Rush album this much since the 80's.
on 2012-07-13 CharlesMartel Said:
Not bad album indeed, though I would not rate it up there with 2112 or A Farewell to Kings
on 2012-06-09 SolitaryMan Said:
I'm calling dibs on the editorial for this one. I just need to spend a little more time with it before reviewing.