Test For Echo


Atlantic Records, 1996


REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy


Ah, the perils of being in a band for over twenty years. Ultimately, no artist can sustain for twenty years. Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and Rush have released bunk releases. What's thrilling about seeing these artists grow is that just as you think they've exhausted their resources, they pull a Tattoo You, Time Out Of Mind, Pump or a Presto on you.

Well...this isn't one of those times, folks. Reading some interviews with the band, guitarist Alex Lifeson and bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee said, "We went in the studio and made the new album". That's it. The result, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Test For Echo is a shallow, lifeless album that basically seem to be a retread of their excellent 1993 album, Counterparts.

For a band that prides itself on technical superiority, Test For Echo is packed full of keyboards, flashy guitar solos and as always, Neil Peart's drumming. In the album, their attention turns to a subject that fits the band perfectly:the internet. Sadly, Rush doesn't add any new insight to the subject.

In the title track, cynical cliches abound. "What a show-vertigo/Video vertigo/ Test for echo". The computer gets a positive song with the banal "Virtuality", "Net boy/net girl/send your signal 'round the world/let your fingers walk and talk/and set you free". Still looking for profoundness? "Put your message in a modem/and throw it in the Cyber Sea".

In the words of Eric Cartman.."God Dammit!". It would have helped if Lee were to add some memorable rhythmic movements in the songs. Sadly, only Alex Lifeson is the only one that truely ignites the few glowing moments of Test For Echo. For a band who constantly reinvents itself, Test For Echo can be forgiven. It's just that after Counterparts, a triumph ranking among Rush's five or six best, Test For Echo goes nowhere.

A word to Neil Peart: bone up on those books. A word to Alex Lifeson: keep exploring new sounds like you did on your solo album. And for the funkmeister Geddy Lee: rediscover your killer instinct for a hook. Take some time off and get in the studio and record another album that may be your final musical statement as a group. You guys still rock and I will see you again in concert at the drop of a dime. But this album is no way to sign off such a great band. For a band that thrives on progressiveness, Test For Echo rings soullessly hollow.

Rating: D+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1998 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Atlantic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.