Let’s start with the obvious: Alex Lifeson’s new project sounds little like Rush. Billed as “dark, cinematic alt rock,” Envy of None pulls from ’90s industrial and early-2000s synth rock with electro-drums, pulsating sequencers, and ethereal vocals and lyrics from the gifted Maiah Wynne. But those nasty fuzz-octave riffs and drifting, manipulated-guitar tones? That’s Lifeson and co-guitarist Alfio Annibalini exploring the stratosphere on “Shadow” or dropping drone-crunch for “Look Inside.” Andy Curran delivers monster modulated bass on “Look Inside.”
For “Liar,” the down-tempo vibe generates a dystopian groove, countered by haunting guitars and Wynne’s echo-laden voice. “Kabul Blues” has Jimi-styled funk ambiance, while “Enemy” could be the soundtrack for a dark Netflix series, rife with terrifying power chords. Rush fans will dig “Spy House” and its genuine Alex Lifeson solo – the only one on the album. An acoustic-strumming Lifeson pays homage to late drummer Neil Peart for “Western Sunset.” The best track, “Never Said I Love You,” rocks like a techno-tinged “Animate.”
Again, don’t expect this to sound like Rush. But open your heart and ears, and you’ll find an album of heavy, seductive, almost rapturous electronica – and scary guitar bits galore.
This article originally appeared in VG’s June 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.