Let's get this straight, this is without question a mighty fine album from one of the greatest rock acts of the last 30 years.
This latest album has got some mixed reviews. The negative ones appear to be from those fans who can't let go of the band's 70s output. Face up to it, that was the Rush of 30 years ago and the band have moved on several times since through a succession of equally impressive musical episodes, a feat pretty much unequalled by any of their contemporaries.
As with many a Rush album, you will not fully appreciate what these songs have to offer from the first few listens. This is a most impressive collection of tunes and there is much to process and digest. The production is dense with much instrumental layering and, as ever, Mr Lifeson has achieved some sweet guitar tones throughout both the lighter and heavier songs. Lee & Peart never disappoint, so expect the usual exemplary standards of playing.
Despite the above, you do need at least 6 or so listens for things to really click into place. When they do, I'm sure you'll agree that this is one of Rush's best offerings for many a year.
Highlights for me are the opening track which sets things in motion neatly, Ghost Rider, Stars Look Down, How It Is, Earthshine and the Title track.
I am constantly amazed that this band can produce such fresh-sounding and original music after so many albums and years together. If you are a fan of the band and have been put off by other reviewers, buy without question, but be prepared to persist with repeated listenings. Anyone who appreciates intelligent rock or quality musicianship cannot fail to be impressed by this. Let's hope the band continue well beyond their recent 30th anniversary.