Rush - Roll The Bones
on September 3, 1991 "Rush" decided to roll its lucky dice, with "Roll The Bones".
This is the band's 14th studio album and its first released in the 90s.
In June 1989, the band completed the tour that accompanied their previous album "Presto". The band members said they finished the tour with a taste of more and that they had a desire to continue with the column. After a short break that the band has taken for themselves, Alex, Geddy, and Neil take these positive energies with them to the studio and pour them into the songs. They described the creative process as optimistic, literally a "rebirth" within the band.
This album continues the musical line of the previous album "Presto", which included moving away from the Synthpop style that took over the band's albums during the 1980s, reducing the dominance of the keyboards and returning to basic guitar-based rock. The style of this album is not much different from its predecessor, only this time the band is not afraid to have fun with other genres such as Funk and even a bit of Rap.
The writing process has also changed and this time it starts with the guitar and bass of the Lee-Lifeson duo, as opposed to the writing that characterized some of the albums of the 80s and started with keyboards. Lyrically Neil Peart bases his writing on the concept of "risk-taking", a motif that runs like a second thread between the album's songs and also seeps into the album cover, which features the lucky dice representing the gamble and risk-taking.
The album opens with the murmur of "Dreamline's" passing car and the "blocked" strings of Alex Lifeson's guitar, which synchronize perfectly with Neil Peart's stick blows on the rim of the snare drum. Geddy Lee's bass joins in the second bar and leads us hand in hand to the powerful entrance with the simple and catchy riff at the base of the song. Guitar-bass-drums that connect together, as one instrument, with the keyboard that accompanies in the background, and when Lifeson squeezes the guitar at 2:58 we understand that although only 4 years have passed since "Hold Your Fire" but we are light years away from the musical style that dominated it.
The second track "Bravado" is a quiet and moving song that talks about dealing with failure. It is the contrast to the song "The Pass", a song no less exciting from the album "Presto" that talks about suicide. This song was described by Geddy Lee as one of Rush's best works, partly due to its special and different structure from the rest of the band's material. Alex Lifeson also noted that this is a special song for him especially because he recorded his solo spontaneously and in one take. He said it was late at night in the studio and he was supposed to improvise a solo, something not binding just to see how it sounded like on the pre-recorded song, but the emotion suddenly hit him and he came out with such a good solo that he just did not want to replace it. Neil Peart is also at his best here. At first, it sounds like a calm and quiet song that is very easy to play but if you listen to the drum roles towards the end of the song (start after 3:00) and you will understand how complex they are. And now that you have listened, we will tell you that Peart nailed it in one take !!!! What a legendary drummer.
The theme song "Roll the Bones" is the big surprise of this album. The name of the song refers to a science fiction story by writer Fritz Lieber called "Gonna Roll the Bones". Peart also loved the pun and context of the dice that are also on the album cover. Geddy Lee said the band was in a good mood and they decided to have some fun so they included the Rap section in the middle of the song. Although some may think that Neil Peart is the one who recites the Rap section, it is actually the voice of Geddy Lee who has undergone a sound distortion and a lowering of the frequency.
"Where's My Thing?" Is the band's first instrumental piece in a decade, since "YYZ" which was included on the masterpiece album "Moving Pictures" from 1981. The instrumental piece has another title - "Part IV, 'Gangster of Boats' Trilogy". This is a double internal joke by the band, both about the "fourth part of the trilogy" and the name "Gangster of Boats" that Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson threatened Peart they will give to the album, if he had a hard time choosing a more appropriate name. The band said they very much wanted to record an instrumental track on previous albums, but it never worked out because every time Geddy and Alex came up with music Neil brought lyrics that suited them like a glove. This time to make it happen Peart intentionally let Geddy and Alex finish writing the music and just did not provide them with lyrics.
The other side of the vinyl opens up with "The Big Wheel" and the synthesizer sound that takes us 7 years back to the "Grace Under Pressure" era, but do not feel comfortable since that's just the intro, and immediately after comes Alex Lifeson's riff and reminds us that we're in the 90s again. This song proves that keyboards did not leave the band completely, they still exist in the background and it is a beautiful and refreshing addition to the overall sound of "Rush".
The song "Heresy" was influenced by the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and Peart's optimism from the fact that people who lived under this regime regained their freedom. Geddy Lee claims that drumming in this song feels to him like the heartbeat of those people who have been freed from the shackles of communism.
The song "Ghost of a Chance" is a song that talks about concessions that spouses have to make in a relationship for the relationship to succeed. Neil Peart was very proud of the lyrics as he claimed he managed to write a love song and at the same time evade clichés and tickling lyrics. It's also Alex Lifeson's favorite song on the album. He plays PRS guitar and his solo in this song is rated by him as one of his best solos ever.
"Neurotica" includes the most catchy chorus on the album. Geddy Lee's amazing bass work, which sometimes sounds a bit jazzy, reminds us that he is one of the best bass players still walking among us. Alex Lifeson's riffs are heavy and yet catchy and the short solo with the dirty sound aligned with the perfect and so modest playing of this mighty guitarist on the album.
The song that seals the album "You Bet Your Life" is for Geddy Lee the song the band had the hardest time recording, even though they really enjoyed playing it. The main difficulty was the right balance between the lead vocals and the background music during the chorus. Geddy says he is still not sure they were able to reach the right balance.