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Rush - Counterparts CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.76 | 858 ratings

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4 stars Starlog 040310.0736: "Counterparts" goes dingo. Tape malfunction, and the anticipated RUSH reverts to Primus (choppy, warped). Engineering will requisition a better counterpart on disc, but until then a little emptiness dogs me, whispers from the corridors "Counterparts", fills the spaces between my footsteps as it speaks its name in a fabric's friction. The review from yesterday was terrible. A band that puts so much energy into a work of art should fuel ambition, and trouble in Cazetistan left me underfueled yesterday. Not just me, of course. RUSH is a machine, and the smooth hum of their parts has lulled others into a sleepiness that finds the quaternity pre-charted: great, good, fair, alright already. Then rinse it out with a live show and repeat. At least that's the hidden rhythm heard chugging in the machine since "Signals". "Presto" clearly found them recharged, "Roll The Bones" not so much, and "Counterparts" should have been running on half a tank by previous estimates. No. This is a better album than "Presto". This is a better album than I've heard from RUSH in a long time. Maybe it's because I saw the live show (thank you Johnny B. for dragging me). Maybe it's because I owned this on tape, and played it constantly (familiarity breeds fanatical devotion, transferring the notes from the magnetic strip and coding them into your brain). Again, no. It's the songs. "Cold Fire", "Alien Shore", "Between Sun & Moon", "Stick It Out", "Animate." Any one of them could have rolled around on the radio as the new single from the RUSH album, and fans would have snatched up "Counterparts" with gusto. The honor instead fell to "Nobody's Hero", which got under my skin like few songs do (actually, for me the reference point is probably Big Country's "Come Back To Me"). Thematically, "Counterparts" speaks to the relationships between man and woman (in case the nut-and-bolt illustration wasn't obvious enough), the role that sex plays in life and death, searching for a balance between masculine and feminine, and an instrumental ("Leave That Thing Alone!") that might be better left to the imagination.

NEIL PEART's lyrics and GEDDY LEE's bass have sounded better on past efforts, ALEX LIFESON's guitar hasn't sounded this good in a while, but it's the melodies that stick out. To my ears, this is probably as close as RUSH has come to making a KING'S X album (though I'm reversing the formula), another band that just seems to get better with age. In other words, some of the most intelligent metal this side of DR. THEOPOLIS (which kinda ends where we started).

daveconn | 4/5 |


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