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Rush - Signals CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.95 | 1315 ratings

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3 stars 1982 greeted Rush fans with a shocking surprise. It is not so much that keyboards are more integrated into the band's sound. That should be expected in the 1980's. It is how dominant, how "front and center", how very high in the mix keyboard synthesizer is on the album overall. Nowhere is this more evident than on the opening (and truly captivating) anthem of youth "Subdivisions".

Compared to "Moving Pictures", song format is (again) streamlined further. The hard rocking edge is (again) subdued further. Lifeson is now exploring timbre and tone more often than solos and riffs. Each of these are trends that (for better or worse) will continue from album to album for some time to come.

The songs grab the listener's attention and bristle with life (even if there are a few ruffles around the edges). Is it just me or doesn't "New World Man" sound more than a little like a retread of Tom Sawyer both lyrically and musically? Am I the only one that heard in "Countdown" a 7/8 treading of water, a band wondering which direction to launch this new phase of their career? And I appreciate striving for a "new sound" but there are times when the keyboard seems to "wash out" and dominates the guitar, which is a shame given how much time and attention Lifeson appears to be putting into the soundscape side of the craft.

The song "Losing it" brilliantly conveys bittersweet emotions, approaching issues of aging in a manner that is enigmatically both pleasant and painful. Peart is expanding his thematic vocabulary beyond science fiction, adventures, struggles and overconfidence of youth. Indeed, Peart's lyrics would continue to mature and grow in the years ahead even as the band's progressive music would shrink into a minimalist deference to texture and tonal color.

Overall, this is still a very strong album from a vital and intelligent progressive rock band in transition.

progpositivity | 3/5 |


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