Falling somewhere in between heavy metal and AOR, Rush were one of the success stories of the period from 1976 to 1986–all the more surprising because few Canadians manage to break out from the land of the maple leaf in this area of music. Much of their following idolized Alex Lifeson, who was a guitar hero with the technical ability of a Page or a Beck. Occasionally Neil Peart's lyrics leave a little to be desired: "the shifting shafts of shining, weave the fabric of their dreams . . ." Jon Anderson from Yes was afflicted with the same condition of pretentiolyricitus. That aside, the music is faultless.
There have been previous attempts to marshal a lot of British psychedelia into one compilation, but Real Life Permanent Dreams is a little different from those. This four-CD, 99-song box set isn't a best-of, but more like an attempt to assemble a very wide (though still representative) cross section of material, most of it pretty obscure to the average listener. For the most part, it succeeds in delivering a high-quality anthology that manages to offer a lot to both the collector and the less intense psychedelic fan, though it's by no means the cream of British psychedelia.