"Hi, my name is Larriken, and I am a Rush fan."
(unison) "Hi Larriken."
A good friend of mine was amazed at how openly I admit that I like the band. He says most people who like Rush don't like to say it out loud. Like it's some sort of shameful secret. Come on folks! This is one of the all-time classic hard rock bands that never got old! Thing I like about Rush is every few albums or so, they try something different. Blues-based hard rock to progressive conceptual albums, then radio-friendly tunes, to hard-grinding jam sessions.
Their latest is Snakes and Arrows. I was really looking forward to this release since their last release, Vapor Trails, was, in my opinion, one of their strongest albums in a long time. Whereas Vapor Trails was consistently heavy - a great follow-up to Test for Echo - Snakes and Arrows jigs back and forth from alternative blues to modern/progressive rock. Kinda hard to classify, which is what I've come to expect from Rush. That's why they never get old. This album pulls from a lot of old Rush combinations; in a way, it's a retrospective of their evolution as musicians.
It's a good combination overall. Although not a particularly strong follow-on to Vapor Trails, if you consider it freestanding, it works well. Lifeson's instrumental tracks are awesome to listen to on the road. Lee's vocals are still among the best in the industry - indeed a "far cry" from the old Rolling Stone insult he endured at the beginning of his career. There are some weak tracks, and occasionally the lyric writing gets a little too far out there - Neal Peart has been doing a lot of soul searching in recent years due to personal tragedies. His songwriting is more introspective nowadays, but sometimes gets carried away. Still, there are more than a couple strong rockers on this album that I'll be adding to my "Best of..." list. Overall, I'd give Snakes and Arrows 7 out of ten.
I know you are out there, you closet Rush fans. It's okay. We accept you.