3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Definitely a grower, but not Vapour Trails Mk.II,
This review is from: Snakes & Arrows [Jewelcase Version] (Audio CD)
Rush have had a bit of an odd run of form recently - 'Test For Echo' was, frankly, a major let down, and 'Vapour Trails' suffered from being overproduced to the point of being almost unlistenable in places, despite having some absolutely cracking tunes on it.
"Snakes and Arrows" is really what Vapour Trails could have been without the excessive production. Yes, it's balls-out heavy in places but at least the final mix is fairly clean and doesn't have the clipping issues that afflicted parts of "Vapour Trails". Lyrically and musically this is what you'd expect - and we have three men in their 50s comprehensively kicking the backsides of musicians half their age.
Best tracks? "Far Cry" and "The Way The Wind Blows" - both have what seem to be a couple of nods to earlier songs: the big, wide F# chord in the former could have come straight off 'Hemispheres' and the drum intro to the latter reminds me of 'Manhattan Project' off 'Power Windows'. "Far Cry" also has one of the most hummable bass riffs in existence (and, unlike some of Geddy Lee's bass runs, isn't too difficult to play either!)
Letdowns? The instrumentals. Normally I love Rush instrumentals, with 'La Villa' being a perennial favourite, but three of them is just too many. "The Main Monkey Business" is actually very good, but the other two, "Hope" and "Malignant Narcissm" could easily have been dropped - I'd happily sacrifice four and a bit minutes of playing time to lose a couple of bits of noodling.
So, not their best album by any means - "Moving Pictures" holds that accolade, but it it's a heck of sight better than "Test For Echo" and gives a large hint as to what "Vapour Trails" might have been like if the distortion had been turned down a notch or twelve.