Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Further Expanding Their Horizons - 92%

DawnoftheShred, November 20th, 2006

With Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures, Rush entered the 80's strong, incorporating more synthesizer layers without missing a beat or compromising their style. With Signals, Rush took their new soundscapes even further. Getty Lee's synth work was no longer just another instrument, but one of the primary elements of their songwriting. Not allowing themselves to be confined by preconceived notions of their sound, the band were able to create another classic, one of expression and melody on par with their earlier works, but of an entirely different dynamic.

This album is considerably mellow, even more so than their previous two efforts, but Rush's energy is not spent. The rhythm section that made the band famous is still intact, only now topped with the constant synth presence. Fans of the band's back catalogue will also notice that there isn't any more epic songs on here; rather, the band has chosen to focus on shorter, more straightforward compositions. But don't miscontrue shorter for simpler: these songs are just as intricate as ever, though perhaps a bit more familiar to the average listener structurally. There's also a notable sense of minimalism in the synth work. Though there's rarely a moment without some sort of pad effects, they are never applied more than necessary. The drums and bass still shine through as much as ever and Getty Lee's vocals, while toned down, compliment the music better than ever.

The only real question raised is this: what the hell is Alex Lifeson doing? Because honestly, through much of the recording, I'm not exactly sure. For whatever reason, possibly to favor the increased synth usage, his guitar is mixed somewhat low. Accompanied with the lighter tone he uses on the album, it makes him diffiicult to hear for most of the album. His solos still come through, but even these are toned back a bit, a shame considering how good he is.

But the diminished presence of Lifeson is the only hindrance to this album. This is one of the few Rush albums where every song is of a consistently high quality. Thoughtful lyrics touching more on natural science than science fiction grace every song here, as well as some experimental elements, namely that of reggae-like passages. Check out some of those mellow parts in "Chemistry" and "Digital Man" to see what I mean. Cool stuff, and a definite progression from earlier works.

Altogether, Signals is a fine album, certainly worthy of the Rush name. Fans of their older material (Prog-era) might have an initial hangup, but this album will certainly grow to be a favorite.

Highlights: "Subdivisions," "Chemistry," "Digital Man,"