Those two words sum up the new Rush album, Snakes & Arrows. Over an hour of music over 13 tracks including three instrumentals. I stopped by Future Shop to pick up my copy and was almost disheartened by the lack of CDs in the reserved space. But a look underneath the rack revealed a box full of Snakes & Arrows CDs - so I grabbed one. It warmed my heart to know that the CD was selling well.
Tina unwrapped the CD and inserted into the CD player in the van. Ah, heaven. The CD comes with a booklet with all the lyrics, artwork and usual notes and thank you's. Unlike other CDs, this one was not copy protected. Which meant the first thing I did was rip the tunes to my computer (and not have to worry about skipping songs or unwanted software being copied). Thank you Rush for treating your fans with respect.
I have always been a big fan of Rush instrumentals, and Rush do not disappoint with this album. The Main Monkey Business is a 6 minute wall of guitar, bass and drums. Neil introduces some interesting elements into the song. Hope is a short 2 minute instrumental played by Alex on a 12-string acoustic guitar. Listening to this song, it's hard to believe that it is one person playing one guitar. Malignant Narcissism is three guys jamming out a tune. Neil played a four-piece drum kit and Geddy played a fretless bass, making for a memorable jam session.
Overall, the album has breadth and depth. The lyrics are top notch and the vocals are amazing. There was much talk on the net about the lack of a 'real' guitar solo in the first single, Far Cry. Let me tell you that Alex 'rocks out' on this album and uses electric, acoustic and even a mandolin. Some songs, especially the guitar tracks, hark back to the 70s - obviously influenced by the recording of Feedback a few years ago. The album sounds fresh yet comfortable.
I can't wait to seem them live in August.