Geddy Lee My Favourite Headache

Everyone's favourite former castrato, who funnily enough made a career of inducing headaches, took the opportunity of a Rush hiatus to record his first solo outing. Unlike band-mate Alex Lifeson's Victor project, which was a mishmash of musical styles and guest appearances by infamous Canadian rock luminaries, this is a much more cohesive record. Lee co-wrote all the music with old friend Ben Mink (kd lang's ex collaborator and a former member of FM, the third best prog band in Canada behind Rush and Saga) and recruited him to play on the record as well. Matt Cameron (ex-Soundgarden) handles drum duties on all but one track, with Our Lady Peace's Jeremy Taggart filling in on "Home on the Strange." Musically, this record is what you would expect from the guy who's been the voice of Rush for almost 30 years. Without the stylish noodling of Lifeson or the technical drum flares and winking word play of Neil Peart, it sounds like a Rush record with less arty lyrics and more of a hard rock edge. The title track swells, surges and bounces with Primus-like grooves while the album closer, "Grace to Grace," pumps and drives like a fine red Barchetta. Actually, a lot of these songs sound better than some of what was on the last Rush record (anyone remember "Dog Years"?). With Peart and consequently Rush back in action now, it's unlikely Lee will tour for this project and it may well have been a one-off affair. But with a Rush record at least another year away, it's a fun way to fill the gap between records. (Universal)