RUSH‘s first new collection of original material in over five years and their first studio release via Anthem/Roadrunner Records, “Clockwork Angels” will be released on June 12.
The recording of “Clockwork Angels” began in April 2010 with Grammy Award-winning producer Nick Raskulinecz (FOO FIGHTERS, DEFTONES) — who also collaborated with the band on their last studio album, 2007’s “Snakes Arrows”.
Lyrically, “Clockwork Angels” chronicles a young man’s quest across a lavish and colorful world of steampunk and alchemy as he attempts to follow his dreams. The story features lost cities, pirates, anarchists, an exotic carnival, and a rigid Watchmaker who imposes precision on every aspect of daily life. The novelization of “Clockwork Angels” is being written by science fiction writer Kevin J. Anderson in collaboration with RUSH drummer and lyricist Neil Peart.
When asked by Spin.com if the songs for “Clockwork Angels” were put together any differently than they’d otherwise be because the lyrics constitute a narrative, RUSH bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee replied, “Well, that’s a good question because it was much discussed while we were writing new material. The one thing that I wanted to avoid on this record was being a slave to the libretto. I didn’t want the details of the story to start weighing down the individuality of any one song. I wanted the songs to be a collection that could stand on their own, outside of context of the whole story. When you look at a collection of songs like those on THE WHO‘s ‘Tommy’, you could pull ‘I’m Free’ out of that and it still stands on its own. But in connection to the story, it takes on another interpretation. So there was a lot of discussion about that. I think at one point, Neil [Peart, drummer/lyricist] was a little frustrated with my determination to keep the story-line minimal in a sense.”
On the topic of whether there was a point in the process where Neil sat down with Geddy and guitarist Alex Lifeson and said, “Here’s what these lyrics mean” and whether there is room for Geddy to have his own interpretation, Lee said, “There are times where there is a lot of discussion, and there are times when we get a lyric and it’s not happening. If it’s not connecting then you gotta sit down and say [to Peart] ‘Yeah, tell me the story again. Why is the character in this situation? Why is he doing this? What do you want him to be feeling at this point?’ Other times, it’s quite clear to me and when that happens I can bring my own interpretation into the music because I I understand what Neil wants to say and what he wants the character to be expressing. It’s really important for me to be clear with him. I have to write a vocal melody and I have to mean it, you know? So I have to be on the same page with him. Or at least in the same chapter of the book!”
“Clockwork Angels” track listing:
03. Clockwork Angels
04. The Anarchist
06. Halo Effect
07. Seven Cities Of Gold
08. The Wreckers
09. Headlong Flight
11. Wish Them Well
12. The Garden