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Rush

Roll The Bones

Review by Gary Hill

While I would consider almost any Rush album to be great for one reason or another, this one really showed off its best qualities in relation to the discs that came before it. I remember thinking that this one, with it’s harder edged texture, was a step back in the right direction for the guys. I still feel that way, and for a few reasons would still call this CD “great,” but it hasn’t aged as well as some of the others. Sitting down to listen to it again songs that I remember as being quite strong seem a little more mundane now and a couple of the tunes that I thought were throwaways before seem like standouts. Either way, you don’t find many “poor” Rush discs, and this one is quite a long ways from that end of the spectrum. It’s still a great album, although not necessarily one of the best Rush albums.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Dreamline
The disc starts with a pretty typical (at least for that time period) Rush sound – with the reggae-like guitar section. They power it out nicely later. There are no molds broken here, but this cut is solid and works well enough as an opener. The chorus section on here is quite catchy, too.
Bravado
This one comes in with a bit slower texture to it. In some ways this cut, rather ballad-like, is stronger than the opener. It’s quite evocative and a good number.
Roll The Bones
The title track has another typical Rush texture, but also a great groove to it. This one was a bit of a departure with the guest “rap,” but also a very fun number. This is one of the stronger cuts on show here.
Face Up
A more bouncy rocker, this one is actually a highlight due to the fact that it’s a bit of a change of pace.
Where's My Thing
This instrumental is a bit more in the direction of older Rush, but still has a lot of the sound of the more modern incarnation of the group’s sound. It’s not their best instrumental, but it’s still a strong tune.
The Big Wheel
The keyboard textures on this one make it feel more “prog” oriented than some of the other tunes. Interestingly enough this number probably holds up better in retrospect than some of the other music on show here. I don’t remember being all that enthralled with it in the day, and I don’t think they played it on the tour for this disc, but frankly this is one of the better tracks here.
Heresy
This one is another fairly typical Rush song for the period, but still manages to rise above some of the other stuff here. It’s of the mellower variety.
Ghost of a Chance
I remember this one being one of my favorites on this album, and it still is. This is hard-edged, and very meaty in texture. I really like this cut a lot and it still holds up really well.
Neurotica
Here we get another of the mellower Rush tunes. This one is sort of a throw away and one of the least remarkable on the disc. It has its moments in the harder rocking part of the cut, but overall this one just doesn’t do a lot for me.
You Bet Your Life
This faster paced cut reminds me in a lot of ways of older Rush, but still pulls in enough of the more modern sound to still fit on this disc. It’s not a bad cut, just not a real standout. Still, it makes for a reasonably solid album closer.
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