Signals

Started by Lyth, May 11, 2006, 22:21:57 pm

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Lyth

May 11, 2006, 22:21:57 pm Last Edit: May 12, 2006, 00:59:21 am by Lyth
 :)

Something a bit different this time...

A bit of a slating by Mark Putterford taken from Sounds in September 1982.

'Semi-Flawed Signals'

Rush - 'Signals' (3 Stars)

You know nothing is more frustrating than when a band you know and love, namely Rush, release a weak, below par album, namely 'Signals', especially when you consider Lee, Lifeson and Peart's galaxy of undisputed talent, something which they have always managed to channel into something refreshingly new and adventurous, yet retaining the hard abrasive edges of their formative years.

Remember 'A Farewell To Kings' circa '77, when Rush gave us classics like 'Xanadu', which Geddy Lee made sparkle with his use of the Mini-Moog and the bass pedal synthesiser? Remember the sci-fi slanted 'Hemispheres' and the profound 'Permanent Waves' with the increasing use of keyboards and guitar synth as smooth technical icing on the Rush cake of sophisticated and multi-faceted hard rock?

Well, I'm afraid to report, friends, that the famous three have over-indulged on the keyboard front this time and consequently 'Signals' is submerged in a soggy swamp of synthesisers, Moogs and the rest, saturating every song with a needless wall of sound which unmercifully strangles Alex Lifeson's guitar and muffles the usually razor sharp edge to Rush's songs to the extent of making them dull. DULL? You may cry in disbelief friends but I kid you not, so read on for the details...

'Subdivisions', the song responsible for the mysterious album cover, I presume, opens the account with a throbbing buzz of keyboards urged along by Neil Peart's snappy beat to no avail, for it's plagued with such a dull tone that even Geddy Lee's usual soaring and piercing vocals sound sadly subdued.

'The Slide' is temporarily faulted by 'Analog Kid' which, in stark contrast to it's predecessor, rattles along in a glorious fashion to confidently claim the prize of the album's most exciting track, thanks to Lee's racing thumping bassline bobbing and weaving behind the attack of Lifeson's fiery lead - yes, you can actually hear Uncle Alex on this one kids!

'Chemistry' carries on where 'Subdivisions' left off and is little more than an average track placed in a test-tube and soaked with a solution of domineering keyboards and monotone vocals, while 'Digital Man' unfolds promisingly into a weird cocktail of a half-funky, half-reggae beat, not unlike The Police, though sadly lacking the springy punchy tempo we're used to from Canada's favourite sons.

Flipping the disc over I'd hoped to find something a little more uplifting, but all I was greeted with was 'The Weapon', another weak keyboard-orientated dabble wandering into oblivion in a swirling maze of weird noises.

And even though 'New World Man' bucks up the tempo a little with a running exchange of reggae and rock carved around a 'Tom Sawyer' style beat garnished with enough commercialism to help it into the charts and 'Losing It' sprinkles a touch of magic onto the album with its soft, sad texture built around the Moog amidst a superbly atmospheric and melancholic simulated string section shivering in the background to create a centuries old flavour somewhat akin to a Jethro Tull tack, building into an orgy of strange sounds before drifting and fading solemnly away, 'Signals' fails to match Rush's previous achievements.

The last track, 'Countdown', is the epitome of the reason why: a nonchalant plodder occasionally breaking into a basic trot over a launch controller's countdown jargon. it makes me wonder what's happened to my one time fave trio.

Nïckslïkk2112

May 11, 2006, 22:40:53 pm #1 Last Edit: May 11, 2006, 22:41:30 pm by nick_sims
I remember it well :)
I remember heartily concurring with Mr Putterford at the time too :-/ In factI went on not to bother getting GuP on the strength of Signals :o, yet now Subdivisions is one of my top 3 Rush tunes :) He was right about Countdown though!
Legend in my own Mind


Thailand Express

Signals is certainly not an easy album to get to love, but after all these years have passed it's probably in my top 3 or 4 Rush albums.
I wonder what Mark Putterford would say about it now?

Jonners

I did a similar thing with Vapour trails, I flipped the disc over to find something more "uplifting", and it was!
The new songs are an abomination

Oor Wullie

QuoteI did a similar thing with Vapour trails, I flipped the disc over to find something more "uplifting", and it was!

[smiley=laugh.gif] ooh that's nasty Mr Miller.

I quite like VT.  One of my faves.  And so is Signals.  I love that album.
Glasgow - 15/4/1992
London - 8/9/2004
London - 9/9/2004
Birmingham - 11/9/2004
Manchester - 12/9/2004
Glasgow - 14/9/2004
Glasgow - 3/10/2007
Newcastle - 5/10/2007
Sheffield - 6/10/2007
Dublin - 12/5/2011
Glasgow - 14/5/2011
Newcastle - 21/5/2011
Manchester - 22/5/2013
Glasgow - 30/5/2013

Dods

Quote
[smiley=laugh.gif] ooh that's nasty Mr Miller.

I quite like VT.

jarro

i actually love Signals ... have done from the first time i heard it wayyyy back when it was released.

I just wish they could re-record it using todays technology ... it sounds awfully muddy to me.

Jonners

Its a it of a "go to " record for me, like Power Windows. Never fail to enjoy it , and wish I was old enough to have seen the tour
The new songs are an abomination

Fishy

Quote:)

, while 'Digital Man' unfolds promisingly into a weird cocktail of a half-funky, half-reggae beat, not unlike The Police, though sadly lacking the springy punchy tempo we're used to from Canada's favourite sons.



git..Dm is the tour de force on that album..wonderful bloody tune...  why does it get overlooked on any live show...
From the Land of Honest Men.

Simon_Wooding

One of my fave's if only for 'The Weapon' and 'Subdivisions'
Citizen of the World

Oor Wullie

May 12, 2006, 12:00:33 pm #10 Last Edit: May 12, 2006, 12:01:27 pm by H3WMW
Quote

git..Dm is the tour de force on that album..wonderful bloody tune...
Glasgow - 15/4/1992
London - 8/9/2004
London - 9/9/2004
Birmingham - 11/9/2004
Manchester - 12/9/2004
Glasgow - 14/9/2004
Glasgow - 3/10/2007
Newcastle - 5/10/2007
Sheffield - 6/10/2007
Dublin - 12/5/2011
Glasgow - 14/5/2011
Newcastle - 21/5/2011
Manchester - 22/5/2013
Glasgow - 30/5/2013

Fishy

Quote
It was played live on the Signals "New World Tour" of 1982/83.



i know..i wasn't there..:(
From the Land of Honest Men.

captainkurtz

I love signals, me.
Anger is a gift.

Ian_Hewitson

I love Signals as well - always have, only Countdown is a little off the pace. It is also vividly evocative, for me at least, of a place and time (like most Rush albums up to RTB) which is probably why I love it so much.

BaldiePete

Not too many quibbles with that review. The original production was appalling (and got Terry Brown booted) and the re-master while better is still sub-standard.