I love this album. In fact, it’s probably behind only Hold Your Fire, Power Windows, and Hemispheres in my favorites (but don’t count on that. As you can see in my reviews, my favorites change like the weather.), but its production gives it no oomph. For instance, let’s look at the entry of the guitars into Show Don’t Tell. It should punch you in the gut, but instead it just taps you on the shoulder and says “Hey there…” It’s not really Rush’s fault, Rupert Hine just doesn’t have a style that would fit Rush. It may fit lighter bands like Genesis, but definitely not a band like Rush.
Now that the production gripe is over with, now we can get to the music and lyrics. This is quite a unique album. Roll The Bones is different in the fact that it all keeps a moderate volume and tempo, but this one changes a lot. There’s the energetic songs like Show Don’t Tell, Chain Lightning, and Superconductor, but then there are also quiet, more introspective, quiet songs like The Pass and Available Light. The two that I just mentioned are some of the most emotional songs Rush ever put out. The Pass really blows you away lyrically, as does Available Light. They’ve also got musical genious behind them. They’re really two potentially life-altering songs, especially the former. You wouldn’t expect this from an album with multitudes of bunnies on the cover, but in this case it’s more than meets the eye.
Would you me to break it down song-by-song?
1. Show Don’t Tell -10/10- Starts the album with what should’ve been a bang, but was more of a loud tap. If you were to add a ton of bass and volume to it, it would make you look like the guy getting blown back in the chair on that one logo. (sorry for the lack of dignity.)
2. Chain Lightning -10/10- The production isn’t too bad here, it’s very energetic, much like Show Don’t Tell.
3. The Pass -15/10- This one hits you hard. It can change your life. Listen to it NOW if you haven’t heard it yet.
4. War Paint -8.5/10- I thought it was awesome the first time, but it gets old. But hey, they can’t make every song a classic, right?
5. Scars -10/10- Danceable. Amazing. The bassline and drums especially make you want to just start dancing. It’s sooooo strange, it’s totally unlike anything else in the Rush catalogue.
6. Presto -11/10- Shows some of the magic of this album. You won’t appreciate this song a lot at first, but it grows pretty quickly.
7. Superconductor -10/10- The first song I’ve ever heard that’s mostly in 7/4 time that I could probably play at a school dance with positive response. The difference between this and most of the drivel they play is that this stuff is good.
8. Anagram -9/10- Cool lyrics, but otherwise it’s just okay.
9. Red Tide -9/10- Alarmist lyrics, okay music.
10. Hand Over Fist -8.5/10- They’re obviously saving up SOMETHING for us. This song’s okay, but nothing special.
11. Available Light -12/10- BAM!!! Here it is, the awesome ending. The lyrics, the music… It all teams up for something super-special. There’s piano, synth, bass, guitar, and drums. All from three people. Plus, there’s about 200 peoples’ worth of emotion in it. Holy cow.
Overall: 9.99/10. Great CD. I can’t give it a 10 because not every song is perfect.If you’re new to Rush, I’ll refer you to Permanent Waves or Moving Pictures. If you have 5 albums or more, by all means pick this up. This is the last one I bought, and much to my regret. It’s amazing.