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Rush - Signals CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.94 | 1265 ratings

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4 stars Rush's Signals continued their departure from their classic sound, including ever more synthesizers. This was a common trend for most bands in the 1980s and Rush was far from avoiding this. But unlike other progressive rocks bands, Rush was still able to maintain something interesting in much of their material during this time given the limits in song lengths. It surely would have been nice for them to keep kicking out 10+ minute epics, but the 1980s unfortunately had a trend for synthesizers and compact song formats and if you didn't follow it, you wouldn't get the radio play (and MTV rotation) that would bring in the money.

So while Genesis and Yes were dancing away with top 10 hits, Rush was the dominant group on the AOR stations chugging out shorter, but much more interesting stuff. Peart's lyrics were as interesting as ever, Lifeson's guitar work was as exceptional as ever even though more and more it took a background role to melodic keyboard lines, and Lee's vocals continued to improve and fit in with the shorter song formats. Although Rush was no longer making longer epics, they were incorporating more styles into their music, such as ska, reggae, and funk. Some songs almost sounded like progressive versions of Police songs.

Although their departure from their classic period probably alienated some Rush fans, their exposure on radio gathered in another new generation of fans, which in turn introduced them to their classic period. Some might consider Signals groundbreaking. I can understand why, but I'm an old curmudgeon and will always appreciate their classic period as their peak. Still, an excellent effort worthy of four stars. If you're into more accessible prog rock, this might be a good one to start with, otherwise I recommend starting with anything from their 1977-1981 period.

progaardvark | 4/5 |


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