June 8, 2006

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Rush, Gold
Mercury Records, 2006

The arguable part is that Rush drummer Neil Peart almost single-handedly made egghead rock a part of the collective listening experience of mullet-heads, thereby enraging ELP snobs and, axiomatically by deed if not design, making him one of the most nefarious punks of the ’70s. What can’t be denied is that even in 2006, major labels stick to the tradition of using the misleading title Gold to categorize a collection of unchallenging songs which at one time appealed to the lowest common denominator. Accordingly, only the clunkiest parts of the band’s 1978 Hemispheres album — in all its 7/8 meter, Ayn Rand-worshipping glory — show up amid all the Tom Sawyers and Red Barchettas, with “The Trees”’s puerile flat-tax allegory and the klutzy instrumental “La Villa Strangiato.” Similarly, all but one of the brain-scramblers from Farewell to Kings are left out, leaving that album’s “Xanadu” and the two aforementioned jalopies to represent their entire experimental oeuvre. At two CDs encompassing 29 songs, however, there’s a lot of catch-up available here for the young and curious. B-

— Eric Saeger


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