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Rush

Feedback EP

Review by Gary Hill

In the liner notes on this EP, Neil Peart explains "It was April of 2004, but Geddy, Alex, and I were channeling back to 1966 and 1967, when we were thirteen- and fourteen-year-old beginners. We thought it would be a fitting symbol to commemorate our thirty years together if we returned to our roots and paid tribute to those we had learned from and were inspired by. We thought we might record some of the songs we used to listen to, the ones we painstakingly learned the chords, notes, and drum parts for, and even played in our earliest bands. The tracks on this collection are songs we liked from the era that we thought we could 'cover' effectively (meaning not too many backing vocals), and have some fun with. The music celebrates a good time in our lives, and we had a good time celebrating it." Well, it's obvious from listening to this CD just how much fun they had making it. This is far more raw and less serious than their music is these days and brings us back to an earlier time in Rush's history when they were crunchy and bombastic and not so intense. Truth be told, thinking man's rock is cool, but it's also good to just kick back and have fun. It's nice to know that Rush can still do it, and do it well. This being an EP is rather inexpensive and truly a great addition to anyone's Rush collection. This one is definitely not progressive rock, but we always put Rush in that category based on several other of their releases.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Summertime Blues
This cut thunders in like a hunk of lead with a super chunky chording that is totally old school Rush. It shifts gears to the familiar main song structure, but even here this cut could easily have come from the first Rush album. It's good fun, and great to hear these guys playing gritty and dirty all over again. It's nice to know they can still pull that sound off with integrity.
Heart Full of Soul
An acoustic ching signals the beginning of the song and then the electric screams its passion overtop. They do a cool take that really feels like a cross between modern Rush and their old school sound. As they crunch out the chorus it has some killer distorted textures. The guitar overtones on this one are quite tasty, too. As always with this band it's amazing how much sound three guys can create.
The Seeker
This one is considerably more raw than the Who's version. This is one of the less effective cuts on the disc, but works reasonably well nonetheless.
For What It's Worth
I really like Rush's take on this Buffalo Springfield classic. They do a nice job of both pulling off the hippie sound of the cut and putting in some serious heaviness. They turn it into a Rush song, although not one that fits into any specific era of the band. I suppose if you really had to pin it down it might have fit onto Fly By Night, but only so well. Lifeson puts some very tasty fills into this one in the form of chording and overlayers. The wahing outro is especially cool.
Shapes of Things
This is another real winner. They do a nice job of combining the heavy bounding, crunching protometal and psychedelic sounds into a collage that both resembles the original and feels like vintage Rush. This one would have fit nicely on the first Rush album, although it probably wouldn't have been this well produced or arranged. Lifeson's take on the sitar-like soloing is killer as are the layers of sounds he weaves overtop. The noisy cacophony later is quite cool, too - and perhaps a bit more in the mode of the Fly By Night album. This is another of my favorites from the disc.
Mr. Soul
Here's another cool adaptation. They put in a noisy proto rock take, and Neil Young's main riff sounds incredibly tasty here. There are moments of this one that feel more like newer Rush.
Crossroads
This bouncing fast paced take is cool, but less adventurous than some of the other stuff on the disc. Don't get me wrong, it's one of my favorites on the album, it's just that it's far closer to the Cream version than much of the rest of this material is to the popular renditions. Then again, I suppose the sound of Cream was closer to the sound of old Rush than many of these other artists' sounds were.
Seven and Seven Is
Now this totally feels like something from Rush's first album, ala Working Man. It's good to hear them with this kind of raw fury again.
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