Sound — 8
Rush: progressive rock icons. I can think of a time when I lost a lot of hope in Rush, especially during the late 1980s. I mean, I knew they were one of the most talented bands around, but I felt like they just lost touch with themselves as musicians. With that said, 1991's "Roll the Bones" brought forth amazingly proficient changes. This album was the first album (in possibly 8 years) that demonstrated Rush coming back together as a band. After experimenting with softer sounds and cleaner tones on the last couple records, and synth-driven rock before that, Rush seems to have found a good balance with "Roll the Bones". With Lee's confident vocal delivery supported by unparallel musicianship, great songs, great lyrics, and great arrangements, Rush has turned out an album as good as the work they'd done ten years beforehand. Funky rhythms, synth hits, interspersed acoustic guitars and a bizarre rap make this one totally unique in the Rush catalog. Its a lot of fun-- this is an element of the band that started to emerge at this point, the fact they could have fun. It's crucial in the Rush discography.
Lyrics — 8
Rush always is able to manage decent lyrical output. That goes without saying. Like most Rush releases, all of the lyrics were written by, drummer, Neil Peart. Lyrically, it's a pretty standard listen. Not a whole lot of poetic justice flows from this album, but I did notice two songs that made me think a little bit. "Heresy" was an interesting song. Here, Peart speaks of a wall collapsing, presumably the Berlin Wall that fell 2 years earlier. He speaks of the fall of communism and ultimately asks in his lyrics: "Who will pay?" It seems like Peart's connection with current events makes his work that more spectacular. Another song that I enjoyed was "Ghost of a Chance." It is particularly moving in that it focuses on the meaning of love and finding love. There is heavy emphasis placed on love's strength in this piece as well. This album is not up the walls with complexity, but there are a few notable high points.
Overall Impression — 8
It's Rush. You know what they're capable of. You know they're amazing, so what other reasons do you need to pick this album up? Every track on here is great, but my personal favorite is "Heresy", featuring ethereal vocal overdubs and soundscapes which is trademark Rush at their finest. Also worth checking out: "Where's My Thing", Rush returning to instrumentals. Not as flashy as YYZ or La Villa, but still great and refreshing to hear. The title track, which reminds me of something John Lennon could have written for some reason. "The Big Wheel", and "Ghost of A Chance" also, but everything on here is excellent as I've said earlier. There is nothing wrong with this album, it's just a prime example of a band that's grown and evolved and I'm personally pleased with the results.