The album "Victor" by the band "Victor" was released on January 9, 1996.
Who is "Victor" you must be asking yourself?
Well, "Victor" is a side project of Alex Lifeson guitarist of the Canadian trio - "Rush", who was the first to release solo material outside the band.
The story of this album begins in May 1994, when the members of "Rush" finished the tour designed to promote the album "Counterparts" from 1993. Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart agreed on a methodical short break, before start working on their next album. However, this break lasted longer than expected, when Geddy Lee asked his friends to take a year off, so he can spend time with his newborn daughter.
Alex and Neil agreed of course and devoted their free time to personal projects.
Neil Peart began work on the tribute album to legendary jazz drummer Buddy Rich - "Burning for Buddy" and took advantage of the hiatus to specialize in jazz-style playing, taking lessons from renowned drummer Freddie Gruber.
Alex Lifeson took the time to work on his solo album, with the band to be called "Victor".
It all began with Alex Lifeson writing demos in his private studio, where he was passing his time waiting for the end of the break taken by his two bandmates. Musically, Lifeson allowed himself to go wild and break out of the comfort zone familiar to him from "Rush". Lyrically it was much harder. Alex had to adapt abilities he had not used for over two decades.
After Alex finished writing the material and recording the demos, he began recruiting a team of guest and session musicians, to help him turn the demos into an album. "Victor"'s core band included guitarist Bill Bell, bassist Peter Cardinali, drummer Blake Manning and brass instrument player Colleen Allen.
For the vocal parts Lifeson recruited two vocalists: Dalbello, whose voice can be discerned in Geddy Lee-like howls on the track "Start Today," and Edwin - the lead singer of "Mother Earth," who contributed his voice to five songs. Bassist Les Claypool we all know from "Primus" also appeared in one song - "The Big Dance". Alex Lifeson's son - Adrian Zibinovich, helps with programming and co-wrote two songs, and even Alex's wife Charlene is featured chatting with another woman in the song "Shut Up Shuttin 'Up", which is a sort of tribute to Al Bendy, who himself paid tribute to the "Looney Tunes".
The album was recorded in Alex Lifeson's private studio - "Lerxst Sound", between October 1994 and July 1995.
Anyone looking for "Rush" in this album, will not find it.
This album combines different styles. A strange mix of modern Hard Rock, Grunge, Alternative and Avant-Garde with Electric-programmed blend.
The downside of the album is precisely in its excessive diversity. The album lacks a uniform musical direction, and moreover it also does not maintain a uniform songwriting level throughout.
And despite all this, this album manages to innovate and surprise, especially those who know "Rush" and expected to get more of the same. Surprisingly, it is precisely where Lifeson chooses to come out of his comfort zone and deviate from the traditional structure of the songs, where the strengths of the album is well expressed.
Recommended tracks the heavy "Don't Care", the grunge like "Promise" and the melodic instrumental tracks "Mr. X" and "Strip and Go Naked", which includes touches of country rock.
To listen to the album: Youtube