Clockwork Angels

BY Jason SchneiderPublished Jun 12, 2012

"I can't stop thinking big," proclaims the unnamed narrator at the outset of Rush's 20th studio album, a sweeping tale of self-discovery set amidst a backdrop of steam-punk and alchemy on the scale of the trio's fantastical early creations: 2112 and Caress of Steel. This is a different age though, with Rush having defied the odds by becoming, indisputably, one of the world's biggest bands. Clockwork Angels therefore sounds as mighty as its concept, with the well-balanced interaction amongst Lee, Lifeson and Peart a clear result of the extensive touring they undertook concurrent with the recording process. Those already familiar with "BU2B" and "Caravan," released as singles in 2010, will have a good idea of what the album is generally about. However, Peart's lyrics approach a Game of Thrones level, at times, making it hardly surprising that a companion Clockwork Angels novel by sci-fi author Kevin J. Anderson is on the way to help paint a clearer picture of Peart's ambitious plot. What's interesting upon first impression are the album's unexpected musical moments, such as "Wish Them Well," which is as close to a pop song as Rush has ever come, with Geddy turning in a stellar vocal performance. It's telling that Peart has noted it's his least favourite song on the record – interpret that as you will. Then there's closer "The Garden," featuring a nice David Campbell string arrangement. Yes, it adds to the grandiosity of Clockwork Angels when nothing further is needed, but at this point that's precisely what Rush fans demand. Air drummers will not be disappointed.

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