4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Fresh perspectives on Rush Classics., Jun 18 2007
Rush has always been my favorite band and when I came across this tribute CD I was quite intrigued. First off, it is important to note that this is a "mixed musician's band" tribute album and not a "various artists" tribute album as we're more accustomed to. (Which I was looking forward to.)
On the one hand, I always loved hearing one's take on another's music just to see what they would do with it. Sometimes covers work out really well for some artists: Sting/Little Wing, Ozzy/Sympathy for the Devil, Stevie Ray Vaughan/Voodoo Chile, Jeff Healy/While my Guitar Gently weeps, Seal and Jeff Beck/Hey Joe...etc. So I was halfway in already.
On the other hand, as the adage goes "if it ain't broke-don't fix it"!! Rush being covered!? Who would dare? Who could even pull it off? When you think about it, what room is there in a Rush song to change and add to anyway? None! Their music is perfect as is, so don't touch my Classics! But curiosity got the better of me and I purchased this CD and I don't regret it one bit.
This tribute CD is quite progressive with the addition of extra keyboard, drum parts, guitars and especially new orchestration. At times, it sounds as though Yes "snuck" into the studio to throw down some 9/8 time signatures and punches to mix it up a bit and other times it seems like the guitarist is trying to set some speed record for how many notes can fit into so many bars. To my surprise, it works really well and adds color, while the addition of synths here and there colors the background and intros quite nicely I think. And the acoustic guitar on Different strings is quite nice.
The strength of this CD to me, and what makes it very different than the Rush originals, are the vocals. There is a certain depth, roundness and warmth to some songs that I had not had the chance to hear before as this is the first Rush tribute album I have ever heard. (There are other tribute CD's as well but based on the reviews I will stick to this one only...) Replacing the high pitch shrieking by Geddy Lee that we have all come to love is not necessarily better-just a refreshing change. One of many vocalists on the album, Kip Winger, does a great job on Spirit of Radio and Limelight, sounds almost like Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters at times - it works very well.
The guitar work and drums do Rush justice as well, these musicians are very capable, creative and talented and do a great job paying homage to some of their childhood idols by providing complete, powerful versions of some of Rush's greatest songs while adding extended guitar solos (Distant Early Warning the way it could have/should have sounded if not for Lifeson beginning the downward trend of blending his guitar in with the keyboard "wall of sound" of the 80's albums) and including close to exact original drums rolls. (There really isn't any room to add any more as Peart's drumming fills every space eloquently as is.)
It's worth buying Subdivisions:A Tribute to Rush for the amazing versions of Limelight and Lakeside Park alone! These versions really rock with very cool additional progressive bits and amazing guitar solos. The other selections on this album are quite good also. I would have liked to see some other songs covered as well such as Red Barchetta and The Trees, but there is only so much room on a CD I guess.
If you are a Rush fan through and through you will come to appreciate the effort and design behind this tribute CD. If you are a Rush purist you may not like this CD on that basis alone.
But I say enjoy it for what it is: a fantastic take on some of the songs that you grew up with and that taught thousands of bright eyed teens like myself how to play drums, guitar and bass.
Now put on some Rush and go play air drums-you know you will!