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Rush - Signals CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.95 | 1358 ratings

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3 stars |C+| And the 80s synth-Rush era truly begins.

Signals represents, more or less, the beginning of the Rush as they would be for the rest of their career, in the sense that they would create less complex and more compositionally patient (and repetitive) songs. It is also the start of their "80s era" of keyboard (over)emphasis and more mid-tempo works. As Rush had always done and continue to do, they 've adapted their music to match the aesthetic preferences of the times while simultaneously retaining (most of) their artistic integrity.

Indeed, the band felt unsatisfied with their sound, even with the release with this album. I suspect they knew it would be difficult to top their own popularity after the success of Moving Pictures, and especially that they couldn't do so making songs with the same guitar-driven formula. And given the second half of Moving Pictures, this album is a logical follow-up. And while it is a worthy album for it to deserve the Rush logo, it could've been a lot better.

Most of what's lovable about Rush, the guitar riffs, the meaty quasi-counter-melody bass lines, Lee's powerful voice (though less energetic now), the phenomenal drumming are all still there. However, my main issue with this album is quite simply the complete lack of melodic intrigue of almost every verse in the entire album, save the radio hits New World Man and Subdivisions. The choruses are all great, but the vocal melody in the verses are flat out uninteresting, uninspired, and long-winded, to the point where I feel my heart sink a little. What's more, there's rarely a moment where the three musicians aren't all playing (something) at once, which detracts from the band exposing their individual musicianship.

The best tracks are the always enjoyable radio hits just mentioned (part of the Rush I grew up with with the compilation album my parents had), Chemistry, the progressive sounding Losing it (in 5/8, very unique sounding!) and the chorus sections of the other tracks, save Countdown, which was a let down for an album ender.

I do like the synth work overall, but it ends up blotting out a lot of the heavy riffing, soloing, and eclectic sound that the band use to utilize so effectively. I think if the songs were less repetitive with better verse melodies it would have easily stood up to the artistic and popular expectations many Rush fans had expected. But alas, even a reviewer as I a few generations younger can see why the band is perceived to have already leveled out and left behind the pristine quality they had once established, and the marker of that departure being Signals. A good and enjoyable album nonetheless, especially for the Rush fan.

Isa | 3/5 |


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