Rush - 'Retrospective 3'

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Rush - 'Retrospective 3'

A good cross-section of accessible tunes from their last 20 years.

With Canada’s greatest export currently on hiatus it stands to reason that the record company would do something to keep the band in the public consciousness, so hot on the heels of the ‘Snakes And Arrows Live’ DVD comes the third in the series of Rush retrospectives, cunningly titled ‘Retrospective 3’. 

The album consists of fourteen tracks recorded between 1989 (‘Presto’) and 2008 (‘Snakes And Arrows Live’) and for once I can’t really argue with the choices, although I was a little surprised by the omission of ‘Presto’s standout track ‘Show Don’t Tell’. Instead you get just the superb title track and ‘The Pass’, whilst from 1991’s ‘Roll The Bones’ you get ‘Dreamline’, ‘Bravado’, the title track and the live version of ‘Ghost Of A Chance’ from the DVD, which it has to be said still sounds great amongst all the well-recorded studio tracks. ‘Counterparts’ provides ‘Animate’, ‘Nobody’s Hero’ and the instrumental ‘Leave That Thing Alone’, whilst ‘Test For Echo’ is represented by the sole rocker ‘Driven’ and two tracks from ‘Snakes And Arrows’, ‘Far Cry’ and ‘Workin’ Them Angels’, bring things up to date.

You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned ‘Vapour Trails’. Their 2002 ‘comeback’ album caused much controversy with it’s muddy sound and overloud mix, the results being, at best, lacking in dynamics, and at worst, totally distorted. Alex Lifeson confessed to me in an interview a couple of years ago that the band were horrified when they heard the final masters. I’m not sure if the full remix that Alex hinted at will ever happen, but he and engineer Rich Chycki have at least come up with the remixed versions of ‘One Little Victory’ and ‘Earthshine’ that are included here. I can honestly say that the difference is startling and I would love to hear the whole album done like this. By the way, none of the other tracks have been remixed or remastered, but maybe the older ones have had their EQ’s tweaked to give a consistent sound throughout.

If you’re a casual Rush fan then ‘Retrospective 3’ is a good cross-section of accessible tunes from their last 20 years, but if you’re a die-hard it’s worth it for the two remixes and the live track.

Phil Ashcroft

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