In a recent article in Brit-rag Raw, Rush bassist Geddy Lee admitted that he and guitarist Alex Lifeson were pulling in different musical directions while laying down the tracks for Counterparts. Apparently Lifeson wanted to rock out with high-octane guitars and forceful rhythms and Lee was more interested in continuing on the same progressive-pop path the band has been on since Signals.
The tone and texture of the album clearly expresses this philosophical divergence. But rather than let their differences get in the way of their creative output, Lee and Lifeson have used it to their advantage. Like warring factions in the Middle East, they've signed a peace agreement that calls for grudging toleration if not total acceptance. Counterparts is a feast of dexterous, extroverted hooks conflicting and converging with grandiose, introverted melodies.
Songs like Stick It Out, Cut To The Chase and Animate feature heavy guitars and a punchy vibe the band haven't displayed in years, while tracks such as Everyday Glory and Nobody's Hero are more passively cerebral. But even when the group is playing jazzy 90s prog, there's a hint of guitar tension, and when jamming on overdrive there's always a trace of keyboard introspection. Even under the strain of musical disparity, Rush still delivers grace under pressure.