Rush - 1991 Roll The Bones

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ARTIST: Rush
ALBUM: Roll The Bones
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 7 82293-2
YEAR: 1991
CD REISSUE: 2004, Atlantic, 83737-2

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Geddy Lee - lead vocals, bass, synthesizers * Alex Lifeson - electric & acoustic guitars, backing vocals * Neil Peart - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Dreamline * 02 Bravado * 03 Roll The Bones * 04 Face Up * 05 Where's My Thing? (Part 4) * 06 Big Wheel * 07 Heresy * 08 Ghost Of A Chance * 09 Neurotica * 10 You Bet Your Life

WEBLINKS: Site Link

Background

My first encounter with Rush was watching 'Don Kirshner's Rock Concert' in the 70's.

Dressed in silk Kimono's and surrounded by exploding flash pots, I don't recall what song they played but the ear splitting yelp of Geddy Lee was startling and there was no way I'd be hopping down to the record store to search out these scary Canadians.

A few weeks later they came to town supporting Blue Oyster Cult and the next day my high school was flooded with kids wearing Rush t-shirts. What was I missing?

Inadvertently I heard bits and pieces of 'A Farewell To Kings' and 'Hemispheres' but still kept the band at arm's length and then things changed.

I started paying attention in 1980 when the likeable 'The Spirit Of Radio' was all over the invisible airwaves but it was 1982's 'Signals' album that set the flood gates open. This was a sound totally unlike the Rush of old.

It was modern, synth heavy and veered even further from Neil Peart's dense esoteric lyricism that defined the early albums.

From 'Signals', the cold war futurism of 'Grace Under Pressure' to 'Power Windows' (is 'Marathon' the greatest song Rush ever recorded?), the marvellously poppy 'Hold Your Fire' and the patchy but still good 'Presto'; this was a band I could relate to and enjoy.

The Songs

Although 'Roll The Bones' marked the end of this period and my interest in the band, it's no less a great album.

Produced by the mighty Rupert Hine, from the opening 'Dreamline' to the smooth AOR groove of 'Bravado' the quality is astonishing. Geddy's voice has thankfully mellowed with time while Alex Lifeson offers up some his classiest riffs.

The funky title track was a big FM hit and boldly includes a rap by Lee whose treated vocals are quite effective. Yes there are less interesting cuts like 'Face Up' and 'Where's My Thing?'.

But pride of place goes to both the U2-ish 'Heresy' and the breathtaking 'Ghost Of A Chance' which is one of the few examples of a Rush love song.

In Summary

The 80's-early 90's Rush albums have taken a critical drubbing for reasons I don't fully understand.

It's similar to Queen whose 80's releases are often seen as second rate in light of their ground-breaking early and heavier work which was definitely not the case.

Rush, like Queen released some of their strongest and most melodic rock during the 'me decade' and are long overdue for a critical reassessment.


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