It’s amazing that Rush has been around for almost 40 years and are still making significant music. Their last studio album, Snakes And Arrows, was a great disc filled with solid, enjoyable rock songs. Earlier this year, the band released their 19th studio album, Clockwork Angels. This album is a testament to the fact that Rush still has what it takes to make a great record worthy of fan consumption.
Clockwork Angels reminds me a lot of the very underrated Presto, which is one of my favorite Rush albums. While most fans think Presto is a decent record, it never quite got the attention it deserved. Clockwork Angels falls into a similar category. It is an amazing record that may not get the attention it is due.
These days, Rush fans are mostly about the nostalgia of the band. On their last tour, Rush played Moving Pictures in its entirety, and a plethora of their hits that had the crowd ecstatic. When it came time to play the new songs from their forthcoming album (which would be Clockwork Angels) a lot of fans tuned out, even though the songs were fantastic. “Caravan” and “BU2B” were played live for every concert performance and gave us a taste of what was to come. And that taste left me wanting the full meal. Now that Rush has delivered Clockwork Angels, they have not disappointed.
“Caravan” and “BU2B” start the record off and their studio incarnation is even better than their live counterparts. Building in intensity as the songs progress, both “Caravan” and “BU2B” are great openers for Clockwork Angels. Both of these songs are short, enjoyable bursts of hard rock music that could be released as radio singles with no qualms.
The rest of Clockwork Angels is not short and sweet like the opening tracks, and that is great news for Rush fans everywhere. Rush works the rest of the album in their typical style, with much progression, chord changes, multiple arrangements, and mini operatic songs. Acoustic guitars and strings are plentiful, as well as deep, thought provoking, lyrics that can only be written by Neil Peart.
“Halo Effect” is a magnificent ballad. Opening with a nice acoustic riff from Alex Lifeson, the song builds in intensity when the strings arrive for the chorus. The string section blends together with the acoustic guitars to make a harmonious delight. “Halo Effect” is a fantastic song, even though it is one of the quieter moments on Clockwork Angels.
“The Wreckers” is the song that most reminds of Presto era Rush. With strings, acoustic guitars, a simple drum beat and intense lyrics, “The Wreckers” takes me back to the late 80s when I was dissecting Presto for every fantastic nuance that it contained. The lyrics for “The Wreckers” do not reflect the most positive light, but tell a real message. “Sometimes you have to be weary of a miracle that is too good to be true.” Geddy Lee’s voice is at its finest for “The Wreckers.” While he can’t hit the high notes like it was 1974, Lee still delivers the vocals with pure passion that will have fans truly believing in “The Wreckers” as a huge hit song.
“Wish Them Well” is the strongest song on Clockwork Angels. Opening with a great pounding simple drum beat that bleeds into a typical, complex Peart percussion, “Wish Them Well” captures the ear from the first note of the song. “Wish Them Well” is Rush at their finest. Three guys making music and having fun. There are no strings, no acoustics, and no additives. “Wish Them Well” is Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart showing what they can still do when the three of them get together to make a great song. This is classic Rush with a modern contemporary twist, and it is beautiful.
With Clockwork Angels, Rush have delivered one of their best albums to date. Even after 38 years of making music, this band still has something to say and it is worth listening to. If you haven’t yet picked up a copy of Clockwork Angels don’t delay any longer. This could be the best record you will hear all year.
Notable Tracks: The Wreckers, Wish Them Well
Rating: Out of 10
03. Clockwork Angels
04. The Anarchist
06. Halo Effect
07. Seven Cities of Gold
08. The Wreckers
09. Headlong Flight
11. Wish Them Well
12. The Garden
Geddy Lee – Bass, Vocals
Alex Lifeson – Guitar
Neil Peart – Drums