RUSH - Victory Over Adversity
By Martin Popoff

Closing the book on six years since Test For Echo, including five years of personal strife (mainly for Neil, but by extension the whole band), Rush has reconvened from separate life-rich orbits to create a new studio landscape, a close, warm, unified and unfired record called Vapor Trails. The sound is not one that is radically different from Test, or from say, Roll The Bones, except to say that it is a strings and drums trio record - no keyboards - but not exactly power trio either.

"Well, there was a whole different mentality as we went into the project," offers guitarist Alex Lifeson, leather-seated in the basement of Toronto's SRO Management offices, surrounded by gold and platinum Rush awards, to the left of the basketball-sized prop dice used for the Roll The Bones video, directly under the original Hugh Syme painting for the Power Windows cover. "Test For Echo was an extension of what we had been doing for so many years. I remember Test For Echo being a very enjoyable record to make. There was a nice even, calm energy to the record, very much like Moving Pictures was. In fact we often compared the two, in terms of how they were made and how they felt. To my ear now, Test is a little lighter, a little more shiny, a little more rhythmic, very rhythmic. When we went into this project, of course we were coming out of a dark period for the last five years (ed. Neil Peart had lost his daughter in a car accident, and his wife to cancer). We make decisions about production very early on. We decided we were going to produce the record ourselves, as much as we could. And despite not really having a direction when we started, it came after a while, and once it did, it had an energy of its own. This project I would have to say was more intense, even though the schedule was much more relaxed. Test was very much like the records in the past where we worked it up in a working environment, did pre-production, rehearsed it, basically learned it, then went into the studio and recorded the whole record, whereas this record, was just an evolving, growing living thing throughout the whole process. And in fact, a lot of the performances on the record were those initial jam performances. You know, they've been played once. Almost all of Peaceable Kingdom for example, is from that one jam that we did, then made the song up from that, and a couple little embellishments, the drums of course. But basically guitar and bass are from that one time. That's the one time it was played. I really love that idea."

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