Rush - Signals

Rush – Signals


With this album, Rush move beyond the typical guitar driven power trio and put a heavy focus on synth laden compositions.

Written by: gdmonline

ALBUM: Signals
LABEL: Mercury
SERIAL: SRM-1-4063
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Geddy Lee – vocals, bass, keyboards * Alex Lifeson – guitars * Neil Peart – drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Subdivisions * 02 The Analog Kid * 03 Chemistry * 04 Digital Man * 05 The Weapon * 06 New World Man * 07 Losing It * 08 Countdown



Moving on through the Rush discography, we travel a bit beyond the breakthrough album that was ‘Moving Pictures’. ‘Signals’ is an unusual album for the time, considering 1982 was a stellar year for old school AOR and melodic rock in general.

With this album, Rush move beyond the typical guitar driven power trio and put a heavy focus on synth laden compositions. Many at the time thought the band were pandering to the prevalent genres, such as hi-tech new wave (think The Police, Berlin, Missing Persons etc), but that was not the case at all.

Call it a situation of progression and experimentation. I’ve also seen written commentary about this album saying it is cold and digital, which is a bit off target. 1982 was still very much analog territory and Geddy Lee’s synths sound warm and lush to these ears.

The Songs

Like ‘Moving Pictures’, there’s not a lot on quantity, but suffice the quality is pretty damn good. ‘Subdivisions’ quite rightfully is a Rush chestnut, the dark synth tone overlaying some post apocalyptic industrial world, it’s like a more melodic FM (Canada).

Much brighter and effervescent is the rather awesome ‘Analog Kid’. Check out the incredible bass work from Geddy Lee on this one. I like the change up moment during the choruses, changing tempo to a melodic and fluid synth passage.. ‘you move me, you move me.. with your buildings and your eyes, autumn woods and winter skies..’

‘Chemistry’ has structural similarities to ‘Subdivisions’ though it has more of a Saga overtone all round. Another live favourite is the fluid ‘Digital Man’, with a hint toward The Police in style, though in Rush’s own veritable style. The reggae passage is an obvious giveaway, though Rush did attempt it previously on ‘The Spirit Of Radio’ on their ‘Permanent Waves’ LP.

The intro on ‘The Weapon’ has a faint connection to Visage‘s ‘Fade To Grey’, but that would be the only point of note. ‘New World Man’ follows soon after, it would be the first single off the album. Again, that tight three-piece sound typified by The Police is resurrected here again.

FM (Canada) main-man Ben Mink makes an appearance on ‘Losing It’, the eerie but beautiful electric violin wafting over the sound-scape, which is slow tempo with tons of feeling and ambience. An interesting and different song from Rush. A parade of synth stabs brings ‘Countdown’ to life, the sound effects from Cape Canaveral adds to the aural confusion, but we get the picture.

In Summary

From my perspective, there’s not a dud on-board this CD. With eight songs it makes it so much easier to remember all the songs. It’s a pity many of the current day bands can’t keep their album content to eight or nine songs. ‘Signals’ remains a good consistent listen, and it’s hard not to ignore its positive qualities.



Rush - Subdivisions

New World Man
Rush - New World Man (Visualizer)

Rush - Countdown (Official Music Video)

Entire Album (Select Tracks)
Playlist: Rush - Signals (Full Album HQ)
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