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Rush - Signals CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.95 | 1257 ratings

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James Lee
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Signals" begins the most enigmatic time in RUSH's discography. I was disappointed at first with a sound that seemed so sterile and clinical compared to the spirited progressive 70s albums and the harder and more accessible explorations of the last two studio releases. However, I came to appreciate the subtle, darker influence as I realized that the band was finally showing real raw emotion. The lyrics, production, and instrumental usage on this and the following "Grace Under Pressure" is uniquely expressive, and the emotion that flows through these songs is one of nostalgia and loss, seen through a chilly window on a grey afternoon. If you've grown up in a cold northern city, you know the dismal time of year when the sky and ground are dull and dead, too late for autumn glory and too soon for the promise of spring. As upbeat as "Analog Kid" begins, the longing takes over and darkness creeps in. "Subdivisions" doesn't even wait to get dark; the first synth notes sketch out the grey impersonal area in between the bright lights and the outskirts. "Losing It" is a more moody and complicated philosophy than Peart's more typical "Freewill" and "Circumstances". The band is getting more textural, depending less on intricacy and dramatic moments; Lifesons's guitar work proves this by getting better yet fitting more smoothly into the mix. This is not a band jumping on the synth-pop bandwagon; this is a band who has found the same cold evocative power displayed by synth artists like KRAFTWERK, or even later JOY DIVISION. "Signals" is also, unfortunately, the first RUSH album on which I notice the songs sound quite similar to each other; every subsequent album will share this criticism. The strangest thing is, I respect the band more- expression, musicianship and production quality just keeps getting better- yet I like the album less than its less mature predecessors. Maybe that means I'm shallow...
James Lee | 3/5 |


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