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Rush - Signals CD (album) cover




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3.95 | 1232 ratings

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4 stars Moving Pictures, to me the ultimate Rush album, ushered in a new direction and way of songwriting. Signals, an album which is far better in retrospect than perhaps it sounded at the time of release, is its natural successor, and showed the band in fine form still.

The opener sets the tone really for much of what followed, a dark and brooding piece which is very keyboard led, a move that prompted Alex Lifeson in future interviews to express some regret at the stripped down role of his guitars. Subdivisions is, though, one of the finest songs that the band have ever recorded, very socially caustic and direct in its intent and execution.

The Analog Kid starts off in somewhat more traditional Rush sound, but, to these ears, the highpoint of this excellent track is the "You Move Me" sequence with those synths at the forefront. Another great track which does allow Lifeson to move more to the forefront of events.

Chemistry is simply a fine commercial rock song, in the tradition of tracks such as Limelight on the predecessor album, and it moves along at a fair old pace, and instead of merely guitars, bass, and drums/percussion fused in perfection, here we get synths added to the lead mix as well. What you do notice, though, is just how complex the song structure actually is by listening to Peart and Lee's rhythm section. An incredible performance.

Digital Man is a track which I really disliked at the time of release, but sounds a little better now. However, it is as near to throwaway as this great band get, merely being a white reggae influenced bop along number. In the parlance of Prog Archives, good without being essential. Peart's drum performance on the "chorus", though, is a wonder to behold, although the track is at least two minutes too long, as evidenced by Lee's almost bored end vocals.

The Weapon is a return to sheer excellence. I doubt that Geddy Lee ever sounded better, and the mix of guitars and synth, backed by pounding rhythm section, is incredible, and this is also an important track in Peart's developing distaste for big government and the military machine. The lyrics really are dark, and the whole track is deeply brooding.

New World Man is a very catchy, short, poppy rock song which really does what it says on the tin, and not much more.

Losing It is a wonderful, delicate, and distinctly understated track which sounds absolutely nothing like the band had ever done previously, or actually since come to that. Ben Mink's turn on violin is exceptional, and you wish that this type of Eastern European influenced folk could have figured a little more often in subsequent instrumental work.

Countdown closes proceedings, and is another dark, rather apocalyptic, political track featuring swirling rockets, helicopters, control room monologues, and synths set against a very simple instrumental backdrop. This is another of those tracks I really didn't listen to for many years following the original release, but which sounds far better in hindsight.

As with all prog rock bands at this time, Rush had to either adapt to the changing world, or die commercially, and that they did the former and still produce some exceptional music that managed to bring the majority of older fans along with them, is testament to their talent and, of course, our fierce loyalty.

This is a very good album, and one I heartily recommend to those who do not own it and listened a bit too much to those diehard haters of anything remotely resembling a synth in Rush music. 3.5 stars in reality, but rounded up to four stars on this site, because much of it really is rather excellent.

lazland | 4/5 |


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