Soundchecks Music Reviews

My Favorite Headache by Geddy Lee

Atlantic 83384-2

Geddy Lee

review by Tony Lee

The singer and bassist from Canadian trio Rush goes it alone with material co-written by Ben Mink. From the opening title track, he seems to be apologising ("I want to talk/ I haven't got a lot say") for this more personal work's lack ("I watch TV/ whaddaya want from me?") of the intellectual breadth and deft literary references that Neil Peart's poetic lyrics bring to Rush's political and social commentaries.

Inevitable comparisons aside, he needn't have worried because this doesn't sound too much like Rush at all. The absence of Alex Lifeson's razor slash guitar solos and Peart's elaborate percussion is compensated for by various nifty bits of moody piano melody and restrained use of orchestral strings (as in Working At Perfekt and The Angels' Share) bridging the expected hard rocking bass lines. Geddy Lee's voice has matured quite considerably since the screechy whine (a caterwaul that used to alienate some people) on Rush's early SF/fantasy themed concept albums. Now his singing demonstrates a far greater range, both soaring and murmuring, capable of occasional brilliance (this is particularly notable on Runaway Train and Slipping).

Not strikingly ambitious or hugely impressive, then, but there's much to admire in the tightly arranged compositions. Overall, this is undeniably sophisticated rock music, with flashes of wry good humour (as in Moving To Bohemia - "..where the beer is free" and Home On The Strange - "He sleeps with a chainsaw"), and so My Favourite Headache is particularly recommended for all Rush fans, of course.

Edited by Tony Lee
for PIGASUS Press