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RUSH - VAPOR TRAILS (*Pre-Owned CD, 2002, Atlantic)

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RUSH - VAPOR TRAILS (*Pre-Owned CD, 2002, Atlantic)

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The songs on Vapor Trails may not be as instant or accessible as those on their previous albums, but the Canadian trio is definitely playing harder and bolder than they have in years. Layers of guitars have replaced most of the keyboards, setting Alex Lifeson free to explore new territories and textures. Geddy Lee is also given more playing space, such as on "Peaceable Kingdom," where his bass parts take the role of rhythm guitar. The arrangements are intricate and interesting throughout, yet never overwhelming. "Secret Touch" twists and builds from melody to a monsterous jam, while Neil Peart's awe-inspiring drums give extra power and dynamics to the album's heavier numbers, such as "Nocturne" and the bombastic lead cut, "One Little Victory." Lee's vocals and harmonies add great depth to "Earthshine," while the airy "How It Is" soothes with nice open chords and jangling guitars. Rush has taken one step forward while keeping one foot back in a rawer sound, all the while continuing to evolve musically. --Gail Flug

1. One Little Victory
2. Ceiling Unlimited
3. Ghost Rider
4. Peaceable Kingdom
5. The Stars Look Down
6. How It Is
7. Vapor Trail
8. Secret Touch
9. Earthshine
10. Sweet Miracle
11. Nocturne
12. Freeze (Pt. IV of "Fear")
13. Out of the Cradle