Envy of None, ‘Envy of None’: Album Assessment

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Following Neil Peart‘s dying in January 2020, surviving Rush members Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson determined to not transfer on with out their longtime drummer. They did not rule out working collectively sooner or later, however so far as new Rush music, the door was closed.

It has been a comparatively quiet two years since then, with different tasks – reissues, a pinball machine, craft beer – filling the areas often reserved for brand new music. Nonetheless, guitarist Lifeson discovered time to place collectively Envy of None, a band that includes Andy Curran (from ’80s Canadian hard-rockers Coney Hatch), Alfio Annibalini and singer Maiah Wynne. However true to Lifeson’s suggestion, the group’s self-titled debut album sounds little just like the arching prog-rock Rush performed for greater than 4 a long time.

The foundational parts of Envy of None are even completely different: pop-rock vs. prog, easy tune buildings vs. swerving flights of instrumental fancy, feminine vocalist vs. high-voiced male singer. That provides the undertaking a way of shifting on for Lifeson, a stressed artist who by no means needed to be pigeonholed as a prog or hard-rock guitarist. However that additionally means Envy of None probably will not join with most followers of the Canadian energy trio.

The outcomes are nearer to the early ’00s interval when rock bands threw just a little little bit of every thing at their music to see what sticks than any interval of Rush, however there’s not a lot right here that may excite the typical Evanescence fan. Lifeson takes Envy of None on a sequence of facet journeys – from the radio-friendly “By no means Mentioned I Love You” to the brooding “Look Inside” – with out ever touchdown at a vacation spot. After a long time of arena-rock expectations, you’ll be able to’t blame him.

The album is finest at tweaking these top-of-the-century benchmarks for contemporary occasions: “Liar” swims via sludgy synth murk like a less-menacing 9 Inch Nails. “Previous Strings,” Wynne’s most partaking efficiency, simmers over a digital panorama whereas by no means shedding itself in dramatic overkill. Within the closing “Western Sundown,” Lifeson lastly will get round to his former group, honoring his late Rush bandmate with a reserved, largely acoustic instrumental. It is a grounding second on a quite groundless report.

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