Rush Snakes and Arrows (Atlantic) For the past several years, Rush fans have been watching the band's steps with bated breath. Following the tragic death of both his wife and daughter in short succession, drummer Neil Peart understandably seemed ambivalent about the rock act. Then came 2001's hit-and-miss, guitar-dominated Vapour Trails. Five years later, with new producer Nick Raskulinecz in tow, the band sound positively recharged and relevant on an album that touches on every musical phase of their 18-album career. Fans know the drill. Peart concentrates on the lyrics while singer-bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson conjure up the music. On this lengthy (over an hour) 13-song album, the band sound fresher than they have for years. Lifeson unveils beautiful 12-string acoustic riffs one moment and blistering guitar licks the next. Lee's bass, meanwhile, memorably gallops along on Malignant Narcissism, one of three fine instrumentals. Throughout, Lee's vocals are as powerful as ever. Adjusted sequencing and a touch of keyboards would have made this album stronger. But given enough listens, Snakes and Arrows burrows into the brain with a sound that's immediate and retro at the same time.