The Godfathers of Progressive Rock, Rush, are ushering in the first of many great releases in May. Snakes and Arrows is the first studio disc from Rush since 2002’s Vapor Trails. I have been anxiously awaiting to hear the latest and greatest by these Canadian Rock Gods!
Snakes & Arrows is one of those CD’s that is immediately great from the first listen. The production is amazing, and music is absolutely fantastic.
Let me start by saying that I have already listened to the first two tracks Far Cry and Armor and Sword several times, and both tracks are superb Rush classics. I can’t get enough of either one of them, and keep replaying them if that tells you anything.
It never ceases to amaze me how Rush makes a song like Workin’ Them Angels, work for them. For an average band, this would be filler, but Rush is far from an average band. From the musical arrangement, a hint of mediterranean sound creeps into the music, but still maintains a heavy feel. Unbelievable!I thought the The Larger Bowl seemed like a strange name for a song. I have listened to this one a few times, and it just doesn’t work for me. If feels a lot like a filler track.
The guitar riff on Spindrift has a heavy almost haunting feel to it. This is a song about waves crashing in and out, which is a metaphor for a relationship. It is an interesting track but not essential.
The Main Monkey Business is the first of three instrumentals on Snakes & Arrows. The others are the acoustic guitars of Hope and the bass centric Malignant Narcissism. The Main Monkey Business is a great 6 plus minute progressive jam, where the other two are short little two minute romps.
The Way the Wind Blows starts with a bluesy guitar riff that would make Stevie Ray Vaughn proud. It then goes through some varying changes, from bass heavy to light acoustic. This song gets a little lengthy, but is one hell of a cool Rush track.
Faithless is a cool track that you really need to listen to the words to fully absorb.
Bravest Face almost has an alternative feel to it at first with its jangly acoustic guitars. Once Alex Lifeson starts up the howling guitars, and Geddy Lee starts really belting out the notes, I start to take notice. This is one of those songs that goes back and forth in the way it sounds. At first listen I felt it was filler, but the playing is so good, that I have grown to like this track with a few more listens.
Good News First is one of those songs that you need to crank up to fully appreciate it. Alex Lifeson’s guitar is so clean polished sounding it really needs to be listened to a few times to really absorb what you are hearing.
We Hold On is another track that I could hear getting some radio play. It is another solid track, and great way to close out this disc.
The difference between Snakes & Arrows, and other rock albums is you can hear a lot of heart in the music, and can tell that Rush took a lot of time painstakingly putting these tunes together. Even the CD booklet has full color images on ever page with all of the lyrics included.
Snakes & Arrows isn’t a disc full of radio ready hits, although there are some. This is a disc that is more about the music, than making hits. I am sure this will please the majority of Rush fans out there, and a lot of Hard Rock fans in general. Geddy Lee hasn’t lost anything in his vocal range, and the Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart still sound better than many of young guys out there playing today.
Is Snakes & Arrows the best Rush disc I have ever heard? No, but it is very good. I liked this disc from the first note, and will be surely playing this one a lot over the coming weeks. I think a lot of you will be too!
Rating: Out of 10
1. Far Cry
2. Armor and Sword
3. Workin’ Them Angels
4. The Larger Bowl
6. The Main Monkey Business
7. Way the Wind Blows
10. Bravest Face
11. Good News First
12. Malignant Narcissism
13. We Hold On