Rush – “Counterparts”

If you’ve never heard an entire album by Rush, then start with this one: it’s their eighteenth, and one of the best they’ve released in 12 years. All of their trademarks are here: sophisticated lyrics, intricate instrumental sections, Geddy Lee’s nasal vocals, and Neil Peart’s percussion – the best in modern rock music

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Like their past two albums, Rush tries to go back to the power trio format with few synthesizers. The result is one of their hardest rocking albums in years. Such songs as “Cut to the Chase,” “Stick it” and “Between Sun and Moon,” are vintage Rush. Neil Peart’s lyrics, as usual, display great diversity, especially on the sympathetic, “Nobody’s Hero” and on his rejection of labels, “Alien Shore,” while “Cold Fire” is bursting with hit single potential. “Counterparts” shows a confident Rush progressing through Clinton’s decade socially aware and rocking as hard as they have since “Moving Pictures” (y’know the album, right? “Tom Sawyer,” “Limelight, ” “Red Barchetta” and on and on …).

Instrumentally, the album peaks with the instrumental, “Leave that Thing Alone!” and with “Double Agent.” Starting with Geddy Lee’s pulsating bass and nasal voice, “Where would you rather be …. ?” “Double Agent” starts into medium tempo rock, and then descends into thrashing grunge. Peart’s percussion is as powerful as ever and guitarist Alex Lifeson’s acoustic guitar is put to excellent use, like “Between Sun and Moon” and “Nobody’s Hero.”

This is definitely one of the best albums I’ve heard lately. I’d certainly pick it over the commercial “Vs,” or the retro “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” Aerosmith is out of their stride and “Coverdale/Page” doesn’t offer anything more than its admittedly fiery guitar riffs (from the master, of course!). So, look who’s left! .

Review by N. T., Saunderstown, RI

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