My "Vapor Trails" review

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by beermonkey, Apr 30, 2002.

  1. beermonkey


    Sep 26, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    OK, so after listening to all of Vapor Trails a few times, I thought I'd share my thoughts.

    The mid-late 80's didn't do happy things to Rush in my opinion. They had a few decent tunes here and there, but the total tour-de-force album was gone with Signals. Don't get me wrong, Grace Under Pressure, Power Windows, and Hold Your Fire all had their moments, they just didn't completely and utterly destroy you the entire way through the album. The 90's came, and with that, Roll the Bones. Ho hum. After hearing "Dreamline" as a single, I had high hopes for this album and it wound up disappointing me.

    Counterparts made me smile. It was heavier and much more raw sounding than anything they had put out in a very long time. Test for Echo basically followed in the same vein as Counterparts did. I was generally pleased with these two albums. I listened to each of them a great deal and still give them a spin every now and again to this day.

    (are you still reading? good!)

    Which brings us to now... or sort of now, two weeks from now is the official release date I believe. Vapor Trails is bad ass. It sounds HUGE, and I mean big time huge. The guitar is mixed way up front on some tunes, which is kind of odd for a Rush album. Geddy still tends to dominate the stringed instrument catagory, with his Big Ass Tone(tm), but every once in a while Alex takes command. The drums, as per usual, sound thunderous.

    Musically speaking, this album reminds me very much of the mid and late 70's stuff. Very aggressive and complex music. There are moments where they sound an awful lot like King Crimson, and it's a very good thing.

    A few notes on Geddy's playing. He's really got into playing more than one note at a time, not necessarily a bad thing at all. Geddy plays a 5 string on this album. I believe this is the first time ever on a Rush album (or any recording?). If he's not playing a 5 string, he tuned down his 4 a lot... I'm guessing the low note in the tune "Vapor Trails" is a C? I haven't actually picked up a bass while listening to find out.

    All said and done, I give this bad boy 4 stars out of 5. It's really, really good and I highly suggest picking it up.
  2. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    I agree, multiple notes from Ged are very prominent on this album.

    Cool review, I agree with much of what you said regarding their past few albums too.
  3. supergreg


    Jan 20, 2002
    I listened to this cd a couple of days ago and I didnt find it very good. However when I gave it another listen I was very impressed. Im not sure why I didnt like it the first time. I guess I had to get used to it.
  4. From what I've read, Geddy used a Fender Jazz on this album -- the same one used for Moving Pictures and returned to service for Counterparts. Furthermore, as on his solo project, he used a Sansamp exclusively. It'll be interesting to see what he uses on tour.

    The lowest *single* note on the song "Vapor Trails" is an E. The chords he plays at the end of the verse do have a lower note in them, but I don't think it's anything lower than an E. (The song is actually in B).
  5. Also interesting; Geddy used the american spelling for his solo album: "My Favorite Headache"

    What's going on here?!?

    As for VT... it's a 4 banger all the way through, he is into drop D tuning since Counterparts. He used a 5 string Wal on "Lock And Key", but that was it. Ever notice the tone on that track is a little more twangy than the rest? Of course the PoW tone where Geddy used Pete Collins' Wal (with walnut facings, I believe) kicks its puny ass.

    Self-proclaimed expert on Geddy's bass tones
  6. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    I'm listening to VT at work today, and just wanted to list some of my favorites so far.

    One Little Victory - It's not so much that I'm into this song, but it has a unique feel compared to the rest of the album, strangely attractive.

    Ghost Rider - Nice movement throughout, I like the guitar.

    Peaceable Kingdom - I like the way this song alternates between pounding rhythms and that groovy little bass lick.

    Earthshine - Simple but effective hook from the guitar in the beginning, love that riff. I like the driven verse of the song more than the pre-chorus and such.

    Sweet Miracle - A good tune, works well.

    Freeze - Really digging the heavier parts of this one.

    I'm really digging a lot of the guitar on this album. I never get tired of hearing what Alex comes up with. He seems to get continually better at writing guitar lines that just 'fit', know that I mean? The only thing that's lacking with the guitar on this album seems to be his sudden aversion to solos. Is this part of the inevitable influence of modern day rock I wonder? He's one of those guitarists where I actually look forward to the break, to hear what he comes up with, ya know?

    Neil as usual is holding it all together. Sure his playing is a lot more understated these days, but I think the kind of music they write nowadays calls for it. Besides, wouldn't be Rush without him.

    I like Ged's work with vocal harmonies this time around. I can hear some of the creative influence he applied to his solo album applied to this album as well, especially where vocals are concerned. The overdubs are a tad overdone in some spots, but he makes it work well most of the time.

    Upon the first couple listens, this disc did not grab me at all. T4E never really grabbed me even to this day. This album did though, and I think overall, it's a darn good release. Glad to have them back! :)
  7. supergreg said...

    I listened to this cd a couple of days ago and I didnt find it very good. However when I gave it another listen I was very impressed. Im not sure why I didnt like it the first time. I guess I had to get used to it.

    I posted a review in another forum with exactly the same comments - the first time I listened to it I hated it. It does grow on you, though ;)
  8. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I really hope so. I listened to it last night and didn't care for it at all....and I'm a huge Rush fan. I can't stand the production....why all of a sudden does Alex feel the need to fall into the same toneless, scooped-mids thing with all the kid bands? He used to get a good fat tone...this stuff would sound so much better with it.

    I'll keep listening...maybe it'll grow on me too... :(
  9. VT isnt growing on me at all. In fact, the more I listen to it, the more disappointed I become. Oh well.

  10. supergreg


    Jan 20, 2002
    Songs that really stick out for me are Vapor Trails, One Little Victory, Ghost Rider and Secret Touch.
  11. LWatford


    Jul 28, 2001
    Helena, AL
    I'm liking it more and more as I get in to it. I'll be glad when it is released so I can have some lyrics! (My favorite part of most Rush songs)

    I remember reading an interview with Alex after Different Stages came out, and he said that instead of closing a chapter of the Rush story with that live cd, that it was more of a retrospective. When I listen to Vapor Trails, thats what I hear. There is a little bit of everything going on, from early Rush style riffs to the tones of Alex and Geddy's solo projects. I am really liking Neil's "new" improved playing, seems like he has loosened up a bit.