Review Summary: A more complete, satisfying sound.
When we had last left Rush, the Canadian trio was trying their hands at a different technique, and were displaying their prowess through more electronic sounds. In the 1980's, it was fairly evident this was growing fast and getting more and more popular. Soon, almost all of the 80's band had songs laden or almost completely coated with synthesizers. Signals
was far from bad, though it was incomplete. It simply lacked some key ideas that had made Rush a success, and was a decent effort that was reliant on indulgent synth and mid-tempo songs. However, these three masterminds themselves felt disappointed with its sound, and grew from it.
Therefore, the Rush trio, very politely, kicked their producer Terry Brown to the curb, who'd been with them ever since their genesis. They tried their Canadian hands at a brand new producer, but who had wimped out at the last minute. At the same time that Rush was making their new album, the Cold War was all the hype. The US and the Soviets were always at eachothers throats, there was ridiculous propaganda on every street corner, and everybody seemed to be constantly paranoid. So, the vigorous drummer that was Neil Peart, decided this was a topic he wanted to write about. After discussion, the Canadian trio produced, wrote, and made the album out of their own pockets; therefore, Grace Under Pressure
was born. Grace
, in itself, is more realized than Signals and definitely more enjoyable. It blends the energetic progressive rock that Rush was known for, and succesfully renovates the sound they had tried in Signals
Grace Under Pressure
is significantly darker and heavier than previous albums. Instead of more upbeat melodies and quirky / cool storylines of their previous albums, almost all of Grace Under Pressure deals with a topic that all of America seemd to fear; Soviet Russia, nuclear bombs, war, the end of the world. The change does not, however, affect Rush in the slightest. The creative fodder is still there. Snythesizers here are more adventurous. The eerie melodies and gentle keys blend in very well with the mixing time signatures, ingenious guitar and bass work, and the brilliant drums fills and rolls. Red Lenses
is a creative little arrangement, showcasing indigent and wailing guitars, synths, and excellent bass. Rush continues to dip further into other genres, such as the reggae-esque rhythm of The Enemy Within
, and the crafty power chord solos and mourning lyrics of Afterimage
Granted, Grace Under Pressure
may not be the album that Rush fans may desire. But anybody who is a true fan will definitely check this out. It is just like all of Rush's other works; a bold and risky venture, but one that takes the sound from Signals
and ultimately completes it. In the end, there's never a dull moment, and that, in itself, is enough.