(All Album Reviews by Sean)
For many Rush fans this solo album from guitarist Alex Lifeson was welcomed with a bit of worry. After all these years an official 'solo album' was released by a Rush member, could that spell the end for the group? They needen't have worried though. Eventually bassist Geddy Lee released his own solo album too, and still the band remained. Of the two, this one, Victor is the one I prefer.
You get to see the many sides of Alex's style on this cd. Coming from him you might expect some textural, chordal tunes ala Grace Under Pressure era Al. That is really a departure point into his style on this cd though, certainly only one slice of what he can do. This cd has a very heavy tone for the most part, it is rather dark lyrically and musically.
Victor is a mixed bag kind of cd. With Alex obviously trying to show us all he can do he creates a diverse cd that is all over the place. Some tracks really hit the mark and rival some recent Rush songs in quality, others just seem dull and weird.
There are a couple tracks here that sound like Rush. "Promise" sounds like it could have fit nicely on an album like Presto. If you are a fan of the older Rush sound though, ala the early 70s, look no further than "Start Today". This tune is sung by guest vocalist Dalbello, a lady with one heck of a voice. She is a dead ringer for Geddy's early 70s banshee wail. I could have sworn it was him at first! Pity she is only on this track, if she was on every cut this would sound like a lost Rush album. I don't think that is what Alex was after though, so he uses another vocalist, a fellow named Edwin from a band called I Mother Earth. His delivery is good, not particularly special or anything, but it seems to suit the music for the most part.
Other tracks that I really like are the instrumentals. "Mr X" and "Strip and Go Naked" show Alex serving up a feast of layered guitars and a catchy riff/funk rocker. Another fun one that is nearly instrumental is the one with Alex's wife and her best friend bemoaning men and their lazy faults. They sound like a couple cackling hens and at the end you hear Al screaming "Just SHUUUUT UUUUP!" So the tune is known as "Shut Up Shuttin' Up". This tune has the best guitar solo on the album, a really fluid one that rocks. There are a number of good ones on this cd actually.
This cd turned out to be pretty darn good and still holds up today. Some of these songs are much better than recent Rush work, this is worth a listen for sure. Not just for Rush fans though, there is enough diversity here to let a lot of different kind of rock fans have something.