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This review is from: Signals (Audio CD)
While I do really like a lot of this album I still cannot bring myself to give it anymore than 3 stars. It does the usual Rush job of being both intricate and deep and frustratingly average in places, whilst interweaving mantra-like worms of melody that present themselves as genius after about the 12th listen. And it's completely different to all of their other albums, as is also the remit they seem to follow.
Signals is very definitely of its time and that time is the early 80s. And that means synths. A LOT of synths. This mellows the whole feel of the album, making it come across as very gentle and difficult to be sure of, even a little meek at times. But from this new wave sound comes some surprisingly good songs. Opener, 'Subdivisions' is a great little catchy, underplayed near masterpiece. 'The Analog Kid' has a crackingly underplayed chorus that really is a wisp, musically but holds a lot of clout emotionally. 'Chemistry' and 'Digital Man' I find very average and a bit pedestrian. I know a lot of Rush fans will balk at this but even after many listens I cannot hear better songs.
'The Weapon - Part II of Fear' however IS a song. It is mainly built around the chorus which is a stunner, albeit in a very feeble manner, a la 'Analog Kid'. There is a short section where some sub-Police-style 80s faux reggae threatens to bring it all down but on the whole it's a very good song. As is 'New World Man' in another reggae-lite kind of way. The shortest track and possibly the catchiest too. The last 2 tracks suffer from another case of humdrumedrey. 'LOsing It' lost me after it disappeared into a musically boring cul de sac. 'Countdown' is better but still lacks a spark that is seriously missing from a lot of material here.
Not a disaster by any means but there's a creeping feeling that they could have done slightly better.