Listen Up: Rush keeps going like 'Clockwork'
This week in music
By Edna Gundersen, Jerry Shriver, Elysa Gardner and Steve Jones, USA TODAYJune 11, 2012
The Canadian prog trio follows up 2007's satisfying Snakes & Arrows with an even more engaging effort, a steampunk concept album whose protagonist evolves against a backdrop of carnivals, pirates and the Watchmaker "who imposes precision on every aspect of daily life." It's an ambitious, sophisticated effort by a band that sounds surprisingly vital after 20 studio albums.
For this late-career album, Womack, 68, put himself in the hands of forward-thinking producers Damon Albarn (Gorillaz) and Richard Russell (head of his XL label). They take his wounded tenor and strong, wise songs and surround them with programmed beats, electronic noodling and, on Dayglo Reflection, the dreamy voice of Lana Del Ray. The results are uneven but weirdly compelling.
There's little subtlety or irony in The Nocturnals' neo-classic rock. Still, the band's new album offers the faithful plenty of earnest but polished tunes, most of them driven by Potter's sweet siren of a voice, as arena-friendly an instrument as you'll hear on radio these days
Catch up on recent music reviews you might have missed the first time around.