So, I've been able to listen to Caravan and BU2B a few times over now. (3 times in a row on the train this AM) I think that's enough to give first impressions.
If these tracks are indicative of the ultimate sound of the Clockwork Angels album, when it finally gets released next year, I'd generally say the boys aren't straying far from the last album. These two tracks sound, generally, like the heavier tracks on Snakes and Arrows. However, I also feel some of the chaotic energy of the previous record, Vapor Trails.
Of course, that "chaotic energy" may have just been my reaction to rather muddy mastering. Yeah, it's true it could've sounded a little cleaner, but I, personally, like Vapor Trails a whole hell of a lot. The songwriting is rock-solid.
So, these are two pretty up-front, rocking tracks. They do remind me of Far Cry, the first single from Snakes and Arrows. It's that same kind of lock-step power playing that Rush has embraced in the 21st century. Part of the joy, and frustration, of being a Rush fan is that they tend to switch things up a lot. Everyone remembers the "synth and electronic drums" period of the late 80's, and still complains about it. Me, I think they put out some classic tracks in that era, even if it was, overall, a kind of fallow period.
the new tracks are catchy and the band is really playing better than ever. It's 3 old pros, now, and I honestly believe they couldn't make a "bad" album if they tried. They've played together too long, and their rapport is too strong, to let anything get completely out of control.
The band's been embracing this same, general sound since Test For Echo in 1996. You could argue even earlier than that. I know that's only 3 albums ago, but it's fourteen years. Fifteen by the time Clockwork Angels actually streets. I almost feel like I'd get excited if the synths made an aggressive return. (But leave the electronic drums out of it, Professor.)
That said, it's new Rush, and that's great news.