Album Review: Snakes And Arrows

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by-tor
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Album Review: Snakes And Arrows

Post by by-tor » Mon Apr 30, 2007 8:53 am

Snakes And Arrows
New Rush CD leaner, meaner
By <a href="mailto:cdcritic@wpgsun.com">Darryl Sterdan</a> - <a href="http://www.sunmedia.ca/" target="_new">Sun Media</a>
Posted From - <a href="http://jam.canoe.ca/Music/" target="_new">JAM! Music<a>

Rush
Snakes and Arrows
(Anthem/Universal)

Rush has always been a band that acts its age.

When its members were young, their hypercomplex prog-rock epics and sci-fi lyrics reflected their boundless ambition and creativity. And now that they are older and more thoughtful, with lives shaped by tragedy as well as triumph, their 18th studio album mirrors that just as clearly.

Snakes and Arrows, for the most part, stays on the path established by 2002's Vapor Trails and their nostalgic 2004 covers EP Feedback. The songs are simple and direct. The arrangements and performances are economical and restrained. The lyrics are dark and topical, preoccupied with questions of faith and war and politics. The overall vibe is slow and mellow. The sound is warm and contemporary, thanks to co-producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters).

Fear not, fans: It's still a Rush album. Geddy Lee's bass clangs along below his nasal wail. Alex Lifeson reels off searing guitar licks and fiery solos. Neil Peart's drum fills sound like trigonometry. And at times, Dirk, Lerxst and Pratt still pack a powerful punch -- maybe even more powerful than before, since it's not cut with all the twisty-turny intricacy of old.

Even so, the leaner and meaner Snakes and Arrows does not sound quite like your dad's Rush albums.

Though it does sound like a Rush album your dad might like.

Far Cry 5:18

With its syncopated shots, low-slung bass groove, prime-number time shifts, wah-wah guitars and feedback solo, this opening single comes closest to classic Rush.

BEST LINE: "One day I feel I'm ahead of the wheel / And the next it's rolling over me."

Armor and Sword 6:36

Neil bashes out a slow-paced funk groove that gradually morphs from dreamy prog-folk to slow-grinding rock monolith -- driven by a power-chord riff on loan from 1975.

BEST LINE: "No one gets to their heaven without a fight."

Workin' Them Angels 4:46

Another midtempo grinder, with a nice rhythmic twist -- the time toggles back and forth between 3/4 and 4/4. Alex adds some pretty mandolin licks to the bridge.

BEST LINE: "History recedes in my rear-view mirror."

The Larger Bowl 4:07

Alex works the acoustic guitar on the verses, and pulls out the electric for the choruses and solo. Neil keeps it simple (for him, anyway) while Geddy weighs in on the imbalance of fortune.

BEST LINE: "Some of us live in a cloud of fear / Some live behind iron gates."

Spindrift 5:23

An ominous descending guitar riff straight from the Led Zep fake book fuels this grandly swirling rocker about being cast adrift in a relationship.

BEST LINE: "The spray that's torn away is an image of the way I feel."

The Main Monkey Business 6:01

The first and most elaborate of the disc's three instrumentals layers tom-tom-heavy beats and haunting synth melodies over a mix of 7/8 and 4/4 rhythms.

The Way the Wind Blows 6:28

Neil's ominous military tattoos introduce a tense 6/8 electric blues flavoured with plenty of Cream. Outstanding.

BEST LINE: "Pray, and pass the ammunition."

Hope 2:02

Instrumental 2: Alex takes centre stage with a pretty, folksy interlude on 12-string acoustic.

Faithless 5:31

A stabby guitar lick adds a hit of droning, Beefhearty psychedelia to this brooding endorsement of love over religion. Ben Mink adds some stirring strings.

BEST LINE: "I don't have faith in faith / I don't believe in belief."

Bravest Face 5:11

Another slow-burner that alternates acoustic-guitar verses with electrified choruses. Extra points for the groovy bridge and Alex's jazzy, piercing solo.

BEST LINE: "Though we might have precious little, it's still precious."

Good News First 4:51

Churning guitars and a downbeat groove support a yearning, reverby vocal and romantic lyrics laced with political overtones.

BEST LINE: "The best we can agree on is it could have been worse."

Malignant Narcissism 2:16

The boys cut loose on the final, funky instrumental, with Alex working the whammy bar as Geddy unspools a rubbery bass line -- then trades solos with Neil.

We Hold On 4:12

Out with a bang -- a punchy, insistent little rocker with a rangy guitar lick and lyrics about perseverance.

BEST LINE: "Straining against a fate measured out in coffee breaks."

<img src="/images/rush256.jpg" width="256" height="200" border="0" alt="Rating">
Don't tell me about rock and roll I'm out there in the clubs and on the streets and I'm living it! I am rock and roll!

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Ogg
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Post by Ogg » Mon Apr 30, 2007 1:11 pm

What's YOUR verdict on the new album BT? :-)
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Post by Kares4Rush » Mon Apr 30, 2007 1:17 pm

That's one of the better reviews I've seen! Thanks so much. :)
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Post by by-tor » Mon Apr 30, 2007 1:25 pm

Ogg wrote:What's YOUR verdict on the new album BT? :-)
Listened to it once. Nothing grabbed me, and I haven't spun it since.
Don't tell me about rock and roll I'm out there in the clubs and on the streets and I'm living it! I am rock and roll!

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Ogg
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Post by Ogg » Mon Apr 30, 2007 1:42 pm

by-tor wrote:
Ogg wrote:What's YOUR verdict on the new album BT? :-)
Listened to it once. Nothing grabbed me, and I haven't spun it since.
:shock: :shock: :shock: "Say it aint so!"

Surely you'll be listening again? :shock:
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schuette
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Post by schuette » Mon Apr 30, 2007 1:43 pm

better watch out by-tor disnae change this to the britney board :razz:
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Post by Soup4Rush » Mon Apr 30, 2007 1:49 pm

now that was funny Schu... :-D
Happy 2015!

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Post by by-tor » Mon Apr 30, 2007 2:29 pm

Ogg wrote:
by-tor wrote:
Ogg wrote:What's YOUR verdict on the new album BT? :-)
Listened to it once. Nothing grabbed me, and I haven't spun it since.
:shock: :shock: :shock: "Say it aint so!"

Surely you'll be listening again? :shock:
I'm sure I will, but right now it's falling in line with albums like Presto. No song every really grabbed my attention enough to make me want to listen to the whole thing more. I listen to Presto every once in a while, but it isn't a high priority Rush album for me. With Vapor Trails, songs like How It Is and Out Of The Cradle pulled me in right away and made me want to listen to the rest of the album. Every song on Snakes And Arrows left me with a <shrugs> feeling. The music is tight, but the songs just don't impress me.
Don't tell me about rock and roll I'm out there in the clubs and on the streets and I'm living it! I am rock and roll!

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Middle Kingdom
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Post by Middle Kingdom » Mon Apr 30, 2007 2:39 pm

I actually missed the premiere except 3 songs,
then lucked into hearing an hour special last night w/ Ged and Al
and they played everything but the instrumentals, and maybe 1 other song.

I liked all of them except maybe
The Larger Bowl.
Will hear it all tomorrow.

I think I'll like this more than VT,
which I do like most of those songs,
but I rarely play that disc.
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doctorbraino
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Post by doctorbraino » Tue May 01, 2007 7:42 am

Oh great and illustrious leader, give it a few spins and it will grow on you. Not as bad as a rash (ask schuette she has enough experiences with rashes), but enough to embrace it. I feel it has some very strong points and it easily eclipses anything done in the 90's. As always, there are the songs that are difficult to relate to at first, but overall, I wouldn't put into the bottom tier of Rush releases (if there really is one).
Did you ever wonder why "Happily ever after" never applied to you?

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Post by Panacea » Tue May 01, 2007 11:02 am

I was up anyway at 5:15am, so I headed to the 24-hour Wal-mart near me and picked it up. :-) As usual for me for Grace Under Pressure/after albums, this one took a few listens. (With the exception of "How It Is" from VT, which grabbed me right off.) Sometimes I find the vocal lines are just not very melodic until I hear them more than once, or perhaps parts are and others are not. Anyway, overall I have to say I like the new one! I'm not too fond of "Larger Bowl" but I'm working on it...
Enchantment falls around me and I know I cannot leave...

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Middle Kingdom
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Post by Middle Kingdom » Tue May 01, 2007 12:35 pm

I was incorrect earlier, I liked Larger Bowl.
It was Bravest Face that was eh at first.
In the midst of my 1st listed, tough being at work though.
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Post by LisaBug2112 » Tue May 01, 2007 7:38 pm

I Love the new CD, dont care what anyone says lol.
"Like a flower in the desert that only blooms at night i will quietly resist I dont have faith in faith i dont believe in beliefs you can call me faithless i still kling to hope & i believe in love and thats faith enough for me."

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Post by ElfDude » Tue May 01, 2007 8:37 pm

LisaBug2112 wrote:I Love the new CD, dont care what anyone says lol.
And no one here wants to change your mind.
Aren't you the guy who hit me in the eye?
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Walkinghairball
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Post by Walkinghairball » Tue May 01, 2007 9:34 pm

Newp. Not me.


Mind changing that is. :?


I mean change someones mind. :???:


You all know what I mean. :-D
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