Envy of None by Envy of NoneRelease date: April 8, 2022
Alex Lifeson has been around making music since 1968. As one of the founders of Rush, he has influenced the styles between alternative, progressive, synth, folk, classical, and hard rock. He’s one of the true visionaries by taking those genres a step further in one his most innovative ways.
When Rush came full circle for their R40 tour, it was the end of an era. For Alex, the next adventure awaits him with Envy of None. The band alongside Alex considers Coney Hatch bassist Andy Curran, guitar and keyboardist Alf Annibalini, and lead vocalist Maiah Wynne.
Their sole self-titled debut released on the Kscope label, goes through secret passage ways between pop, new wave, and surround beauty that is many miles beyond our solar system. You have these dark and haunting arrangements that just hit your stomach so hard, you really need to dive into.
For Lifeson and Wynne, it’s a combination like no other. When you listen to ‘Spy House’ it becomes this whirlpool of terror that Lifeson creates a pressure cooker turned lifting spirit momentum midsection that’ll go into unknown worlds.
‘Look Inside’ walks into the massive glass garden and watching one of the flowers ready to bloom at any second. With a style of the electronic blues, it has a strength to go inside a darker passageway from Peter Gabriel to Depeche Mode on ‘Shadow’. It gets down to business with a tip of the hat from Maiah honoring the one and only, The Anchoress’ Catherine Anne Davies.
But it’s ‘Liar’ that grabs you by the neck collar. Maiah dives into the pool of both David Bowie’s Outside-era and Nine Inch Nails Pretty Hate Machine to go with it. It’s filled with synthesizers detailing an exotic attitude, meeting some acoustic and heavy crunches detailing the skeletons in the closet that the media doesn’t want to know who this massive star does behind closed doors.
‘Old Strings’ sees Envy of None walking up to the attic to do some spring-cleaning and downsizing to make plenty of space. But once the band discover this old scrapbook, it details memories flourishing through childhood with some Steve Howe-sque textures that’ll make you fly towards the heavens.
The closing instrumental track ‘Western Sunset’ is Alex’s tribute to his friend and professor, Neil Peart. It’s a great finale to see Alex remember the good times he had with Neil during their Rush days in the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, and 2000s. You can imagine Alex riding on Neil’s motorcycle, revving up the engines and starting his own spiritual journey whilst giving Neil the thumbs up and staring the road to healing as the next Ghost Rider.
Envy of None’s debut might take a few listens. Whether you get it or you don’t, it’s going to be a dividing line in the sand amongst hardcore Rush fans. But for Alex, he is having a blast with this new project. And I hope to hear more from them in the years to come in the roaring ‘20s.