Snakes and Arrows is Rush's eighteenth studio album, the first since 2002's Vapour Trails, and the first work from Rush since the Excellent 2004 EP of cover songs, Feedback. With Feedback, Rush went back to the very beginning, recording songs they played in their cover band days. Snakes and Arrows, has stylistically stayed with the old days, sounding more like Rush of the early 80's than anything of the near past.
The radio played Far Cry is the first single off the album, and is very traditional Rush sounding. Armour and Sword, the second piece, is wonderfully weaved around an acoustic verse, that reminisces of old Rush, but with a new flair. Workin' Them Angels could almost belong to the Fly By Night album and The Larger Bowl returns Lifeson to the acoustic guitar
Acoustic guitars run throughout this album, giving it a warmth that other Rush efforts haven't always had, and speaking of acoustics, Hope, Lifeson's small acoustic piece is one of the albums true treats. The CD's other instrumentals, The Main Monkey Business and Malignant Narcissism both are excellent and work well to meld the album together. This is Rush's first multi-instrumental album.
Much has been made of Peart's lyrics on this album being very faith oriented, an understandable investigation of Peart's inner feelings on the issue considering much that has happened in his life the last ten years. However, the lyrics truly jump out at you, the examinations Peart is undergoing clearly defined and understood. There is little in the way of "Wonder what he means by that" in this album.
Overall this is an excellent Rush album, but still very much a Rush album. By that I mean if you are a die hard Rush fan, you have reason to rejoice. If you are not really a fan, this probably won't convert you. And if, like myself, you can go either way with Rush, this is one of the better ones.
4.5 out of 5