Posted by Play.com Reviewer, 14/04/2008 19:28:51
after exit stage left we did not know what to expect but we(rush fans)got what is a multi layered,synth heavy beauty of an album.from the opening of `subdivisions` with its dark keyboard intro to the joyous awe of `countdown` every track is superb.the loss/regret of `losing it` is heartbreaking and moves me to tears everytime.an essential album.
Note: This Review was made by Play.com customer: frankpoole on Rakuten’s Play.com on the date shown.
An Underrated Flawed Classic
Posted by Play.com Reviewer, 01/03/2008 12:08:30
Signals is surely one of the very best Rush albums. But oddly it doesn't quite have the place in my affections it seems to deserve from an intellectual analysis of the strength of its material.
Essentially a development of Moving Pictures, I'm not convinced that ultimately it is quite as satisfying as its predecessor or that it has aged quite as well - but it is nonetheless a tremendous album with some fantastic performances and extremely strong material.
A different approach is in evidence here; a much more bombastic sound than Moving Pictures. Tidal waves of analogue synth and powerful, distorted guitar feature in a much heavier, darkly atmospheric production. Hence it's not quite so fresh - it doesn't have the same open, relatively minimalist charm as Moving Pictures, and has not withstood the ravages of time nearly so well.
An oft-repeated criticism of Signals is that the guitar is mixed too low, drowned out by synthesisers, but I don't think that's quite fair. Certainly Alex's guitar doesn't cut through the mix quite so well as it does on other records, and it faces stiff competition from the keyboards here, but I think that they were aiming for a very dark sound... though I can understand why some feel that it's 'muddy' on some tracks; a little too busy for some tastes perhaps. A cleaner guitar sound might have helped considerably in this respect, but on the other hand I really love the distorted guitar, dripping with chorus, especially on Digital Man - and I feel that the combined keyboard/guitar attack really suits the material.
And the material here is really consistently very strong - the sublime Subdivisions and Analog Kid are the hooks that first got me into Signals, but if anything, after repeated plays I grew to love Chemistry and Digital Man even more - two terrific tracks with a strong Police influence in the skanky, offbeat guitar chops. In an interview years after the release of Signals, Neil Peart described Digital Man as "our first attempt at juggling totally disparate influences .. we ended up with three pieces of one song held together by crazy glue". Neil - trust me, it works. There are Rush songs which sound like they have been bolted together at random - this isn't one of them.
The Weapon, a composition which started life as a dance number for a never-realised Geddy Lee solo project, but which he felt would be perfect for Neil's lyrics instead, sounds a little odd in places today, benefitting as it does from a bouncy 1980s disco-synth accompaniment, but remains a strong, bravely ambitious number with a very atmospheric production. Neil clearly struggles with the beat, though.
New World Man is irresistably catchy with a HUGE chorus powered along by Alex's timeless telecaster riff; fantastic stuff. And Losing It is fabulously elegant and atmospheric with an instrumental section of majestic, spine-tingling orchestral grace.
Countdown though, is a bit of a dud; it doesn't work at all for me. It's plodding, clumsy and repetitive, and the keyboard solo sounds extremely dated. But, it paved the way for more successful documentary songs like Manhattan Project.
On the whole though this is a fantastic album, with seven extremely strong numbers, some of which are among my favourite Rush songs of all time. And yet - somehow it doesn't add up to the sum of its parts, there's something preventing me from fully appreciating Signals as an album - a statement, rather than as a collection of songs.
Perhaps, when it was released, I was still under the spell of Moving Pictures, or perhaps it's strong (and in some ways I really do feel that it's stronger even than Moving Pictures) without being sufficiently distinctive - I really don't know.
Note: This Review was made by Play.com customer: DerbySlim on Rakuten’s Play.com on the date shown.
Easily My Favorite Rush Album
Posted by Play.com Reviewer, 27/07/2007 14:26:40
From the period when rush had truly discovered and imho perfected the integration of keyboards into their already well established rock sound. From Subdivisions to Losing it, they never forget they are a rock band but don't seem scared to mellow things down a bit.
Note: This Review was made by Play.com customer: sandsound on Rakuten’s Play.com on the date shown.