Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Album Review: Rush - Caravan Single

Rush: Caravan Single
Year: 2010
Click here for the artist's site

I know that I recently wrote about my lack of excitement for the upcoming Rush tour. One of my biggest complaints was that this was a tour before album sort of situation.  There were some hints of surprises, but nothing definite.  Needless to say, I haven't been planning on going.

Today, that all changed.

Imagine my surprise to see the email in my Inbox telling me it was "New Music Time".  The new album has a title, Clockwork Angels.  Not only does it have a title, two tracks are recorded, done and released.  As of today.  So, like the sucker I am, I immediately went and bought the digital "EP".

First off, the digital booklet is only 5 pages, but really quite beautiful.  Included are lyrics for the two tracks, as well as some new artwork by the ever reliable Hugh Syme.  While certainly not necessary, it is a nice addition.  But let's get to what matters: the music.

"Caravan" slowly builds with guitar and bass layers, a hint of mellotron, and some ambient noises, until the band kicks in with a thunderous chord.  Immediately evident is the influence of Nick Raskulinecz, whose enthusiasm for working with the band on Snakes and Arrows was evident in the power and energy of that album.  Again, the sound on "Caravan" is full, multi-layered and rich.  Alex Lifeson's guitar is front and center here, though always with the classic three-man-band balance that Rush is so good at.  There is a lot to love in this track.  It definitely has some great progressive chops going on, with interesting rhythms, changes in style, and wonderful progression from start to finish.  Great song, and great single to tantalize us.

"BU2B" can officially be dubbed the worst titled Rush song ever.  Yes, ever.  But the second the songs starts, all is forgiven.  This is, without doubt, the heaviest Rush has sounded in a long, long time.  Another cynical song, lyrically, directed at those who unquestioningly believe (in any philosophy really, it is broadly applicable), it is a powerful statement of thinking for yourself.  Musically, this one is a monster.  The main riff is just incredible.  Again, this one keeps things dynamic, with more mellow and melodic parts.  But that monster riff never goes away.  It melts into the rest of the song at parts, yet it is ever present.

Final Verdict: Adore it
"Far Cry", the first single released off Snakes and Arrows was a great track.  I ate it up.  Guess what, these two tracks blow that away.  It is amazing that these guys have been together as long as they have (36 years now), but they honestly are sounding better and better.  Caravan is a fantastic little release to build excitement for the upcoming tour, remind us why Rush is just so good, and hold us over until we have more songs.  I have to say, this release has completely reignited my love of this band.


  1. At first, I was like: "Eh. Okay. This is pretty okay."

    By listen three: "Hey, this is REALLY good."


  2. New Rush!!!!


  3. Anonymous1:34 PM

    w00T!!! OH YES!

  4. Anonymous2:46 PM

    Rush sounded like they were starting to regain their footing with Snakes & Arrows, but if these tunes are any indication the new album will leave S&A in the dust.

  5. You know, that is my take on this as well. I really enjoyed Snakes and Arrows and thought it had a lot of what has made Rush great. But after listening to these two songs a lot over the past few days I am very hopeful for the new album.

  6. Anonymous8:17 PM

    Great review! YOu echo my feelings. I could not imagine anything topping Far Cry as far as Power and being catchy, but these two songs do and as all good Rush, I enjoy them more and more with each listen! Rush has really outdone themselves! Now lets see if they can top these two songs when the entire album is released!

  7. Keatonfreak9:36 PM

    Caravan from about 3:20 on is friggin AMAZING (the whole song is killer, but the instumental section just cooks. Heavy groove and feel)

  8. Anonymous8:00 PM

    RUSH & ALEX LIFESON Are Honored By Greening Of Detroit Memorial Park on SECOND & PALLISTER Streets in Detroit, Michigan. CONGRATS TO RUSH & ALEX LIFESON ON Planting of 25 Trees Saving Detroit's Parks!!! By the way the 2 NEW Rush Tunes are GREAT!!!

  9. Anonymous8:01 PM

  10. Workingmandc3:02 PM

    I was brought up to believe (BU2B) keeps getting better as I listen to it more and more. I love the melody and the incredibly honest lyrics, I couldn't agree with Neil more. The middle part of Caravan starting around the 3:33 mark is some of the best Rush interplay ever recorded. The sound and mixing is perfect and Neil's drums explode out of the stereo. Thanks to Nick for your fearless production once again! The boys are on top of their game and ready to do a killer tour.

  11. Syd jamieson7:50 PM

    Pretty tasty.

  12. Anonymous6:21 PM

    Forgive my long winded review here but RUSH deserves the whole story.
    I am 42 years old now and heard the Exit Stage Left version of Trees for the first time when I was 12. My first statement to the person trying to get me to listen to it was “I don’t like RUSH they are too hard.” I must have liked Barry Manilow or something at the time. Well I really liked Trees so I was happy to admit I was wrong. A few years later Power Windows came out and a different friend of mine turned me on to it and I have been hooked ever since. Signals, Grace under Pressure and others never left the turn table for years after that. Once I was hooked I went back and grew to love all the older stuff too so I feel pretty steeped in RUSH lore and history. For me RUSH became something otherworldly and I would spend time trying to convert my other friends to it as my friend had do to me. But then Hold Your Fire came out and things for me changed. I still liked the album but they had lost a purity and cleanness to their sound. That album still became my early college years soundtrack but I felt like they had slipped a little. The Power Trio seemed to have forgotten what made them great, clean base, guitar drums and a little synth to round it out and don’t forget the great thought provoking stories in the lyrics. Suddenly the new album had a girl singing in the background and blah blah blah. Don’t get me wrong I still loved them but not as much as what I would call the golden years. For me they just seemed less young fresh and most of all inventive. They must have felt the same way because eventually they took a break and came back a few years later with what I would call the worst RUSH album ever, Test For Echo. :-) There may be others that love it but it gives me a headache. So, on a positive note, for me they have been getting progressively better over the last few albums and going back to the old RUSH, hard and clean. So what do I think of the new singles?
    At first I must say that I didn't really like Caravan, too strange, too progressive too much like Snakes and Arrows. I'm an oldie now remember and not used to this new sound, that being said, I liked BU2B more than Caravan at first because it was a little tamer not so all over the place. However after two days and some sleep in-between am happy to say that Caravan has now grown on me till I crave it. Which is what RUSH is so good at and why it is so hard to convert new fans to them. Rush has to grow on you and sink into your soul before you can feel the music. Years ago a person I was trying to convert didn’t like RUSH because it was too complicated. Well so sorry you missed out on what has been a true pleasure for me for the past 30 years of my life. I am pleased to say that my 14 year old son is now a big fan and we are excited to go to the upcoming concert together. What other Rock band can you say that about? My Dad would never like the same music I do.

  13. Anonymous4:04 PM

    I'd have to say that as far as "worst song title" goes, "BU2B" brings up second place to "I Think I'm Going Bald".

  14. Anonymous6:53 PM

    "Anonymous"'s tale is pretty right on for me. At 46, I bought in at Permanent Waves and three years ago my 17 year old son saw them with me in Houston. I thought Vapor Trails was great and a good return to what they do best. The two new singles to me blow away anything on Snakes and Arrows and yes there was a lot to like about S&A.