On June 29, 2004, "Rush" released its only EP, "Feedback".
While preparing for the band's world tour to mark 30 years of activity, "Rush" surprised their fans by releasing an eight-track EP - "Feedback" containing cover versions of artists who influenced the Canadian power trio.
When you open the album, which also in the CD version looks exactly like a vinyl album, you find an excerpt written by Neil Peart which explains the reason for the very existence of this EP. The band wanted to salute the bands that influenced them, a kind of tribute to the bands that they used to perform cover versions of their songs somewhere in their early days, at the garage or school basements in Willowdale Ontario, at a time when they were not yet known and familiar. It is also a commemoration, for the 30 years the band have been together, a kind of look back on the years that have been and where they are today, while respecting those they have learned and been influenced by along the way. Or in the words of Peart's words:
"It was April of 2004, but Geddy, Alex, and I were channeling back to 1966 and 1967, when we were thirteen- and fourteen-year-old beginners. We thought it would be a fitting symbol to commemorate our thirty years together if we returned to our roots and paid tribute to those we had learned from and were inspired by. We thought we might record some of the songs we used to listen to, the ones we painstakingly learned the chords, notes, and drum parts for, and even played in our earliest bands. The tracks on this collection are songs we liked from the era that we thought we could 'cover' effectively (meaning not too many backing vocals), and have some fun with. The music celebrates a good time in our lives, and we had a good time celebrating it."
As you already know with this wonderful trio everything has to be accurate, perfect and at the highest level, so even on the cover album the result was no less than fantastic. Rush bomb-shells us with 8 rock-blues-psychedelic classics, all from 1965-1970: two from "The Yardbirds", two from "Buffalo Springfield", one from "The Who", one from "Love" and two other songs of covers "Cream" "and" "Blue Cheer" did back at the 60's.
No doubt these songs have received quite a few cover versions in the past, but "Rush" did it differently. They chose a slightly different direction from the previous cover versions that just tried to resemble the original, bringing their own interpretation into the songs, injecting them with boiling energy and uncompromising power.
Although these are 40-year-old songs (when the album was released), Rush managed to make them sound new, fresh and relevant. The fun the trio had in the studio just screams out of the speakers, and you can clearly hear how much the bandmates enjoyed playing them.
The opening song "Summertime Blues" - originally by Eddie Cochran, was also performed by "The Who", but "Rush" gave the credit to "Blue Cheer", whose version of the song is the nearest to "Rush" DNA. The song opens with Alex Lifeson's guitar feedback and tells us why "feedback" was chosen for the album's name. The song illustrates how Rush can take a simple song and make it its own. It is easy to hear why this version is much better than the original and all the covers made for this song, which serves as a musical compass for the rest of the songs on the album.
The next song, "Heart Full of Soul" is a 1965 song from "The Yardbirds". You can hear Rush's version of the song soothing freshness and pushing it forward, especially in Alex Lifeson's guitar roles and Geddy Lee's vocals that sound clearer and more accurate than ever.
From there we move on to what has become one of the leading protest songs against the Vietnam War, "For What It's Worth" by "Buffalo Springfield," written by Stephen Stills. The combination of Alex Lifeson's acoustic and electric with Geddy Lee's harmonic vocals provide the fertile ground on which the entire song is based, with Neil Peart having to literally hold back here, with what appears to be his most minimalist drumming of his entire career. Another perfect performance that even surpasses the original.
The fourth track from the band "The Seeker" is probably the most powerful track on this mini album. Lifeson's screaming riffs, Geddy Lee's bold bass and Peart's solid and precise drumming do justice to this song and take it to a whole other dimension. Alex Lifeson's solo is reminiscent of "Rush's" rough sound from their first albums and Geddy Lee's voice sounds so tailored to the song that one can think it's an original song by the band.
We return to "Buffalo Springfield" in the fifth track - "Mr. Soul", this time in a song written by Neil Young for the band. This is the darkest song on this mini-album, with a production similar to the one from the band's previous album "Vapor Trails". Listen to the sound in Lifeson's guitar riff and Geddy Lee's doubled vocals, and you will understand the resemblance to that album, which only due to its gloomy production was remixed 10 years later. The resemblance to the psychedelia of "The Byrds" in the song "8 Miles High" cannot be ignored when listening to Lifeson's solo in this song.
The sixth song "Seven and Seven Is" brings us the same psychedelia, by the band "Love" from the album "Da Capo" released in 1966, only this time at a higher intensity. This is the first song where Neil Peart and Geddy Lee can finally go wild and play freely, all thanks to the wild nature of this song (by the way also in the original version).
In the seventh track we return to a visit from "The Yardbirds" with the classic "Shapes of Things". The song gets a Rush-style metallic "spike" here. This is another section that allows Neil Peart and the rest of the band to let go and express themselves, especially in the second part of the song, starting with Lifeson's solo.
The track that closes the album is "Crossroads", originally by Robert Johnson, familiar to us from the performance of the "Cream". This is perhaps the best cover on the album for an immortal song, which is performed here accurately and brilliantly by the trio, just an excellent piece to sign the album.
The mini-album "Feedback" received excellent reviews both in terms of song selection and performance. For example, the All Music catalog praised the album and noted that fans hear "Rush" like they have never heard before.
In conclusion, this is a very light and fun album to listen to, which classic rock lovers will surely enjoy, an album that the band members must have really enjoyed recording.