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  • Grace Under Pressure
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  • Adrian's Album Reviews |

    Rush

    a farewell to kings 2112 signals fly by night permanent waves

    Rush 6 ( 1974 )
    Finding My Way / Need Some Love / Take A Friend / Here Again / What You're Doing / In The Mood / Before & After / Working Man

    It's 1974 and three piece rock band Rush reveal their debut set of recordings. Led Zeppelin influences abound though the playing is generally tight throughout. 'Finding My Way' is a decent enough piece of Seventies rock guitar work although the song itself is nothing at all original, a little too much Led Zeppelin. 'Need Some Love' isn't actually any better, the lyrics are trying, though the music does have an energy about it. 'Take A Friend' fades in with drumming and guitar, the guitar is fine and the song has a certain enjoyable groove about it, although even more rooted in Led Zeppelin influences than either of the first two songs! 'Here Again' slows things down a little, a little too much in fact, this blues influenced ballad is entirely forgettable. 'What You're Doing' returns to Led Zeppelin guitar riffing and is stupidly enjoyable enough - like 'Take A Friend' it's groove based rather than led by melody. 'In The Mood' features cowbell drums, it's personal taste - but I HATE cowbell drums!! Ah, well. The song is hardly anything special, in any case and the lyrics are awfully cliched. 'Before And After' starts quietly and sounds rather nice, before it descends into more Zeppelin, like a Zep tribute band, almost.

    The closing 'Working Man' is the finest thing on this entire Rush debut for me personally and seems to have pointed a way forward for the group. The lyrics still need attention, but Geddy's vocals sound clearer here and more the voice he'd use over subsequent albums. A great guitar solo appears and the song has a swinging groove about it that is most alluring! Can Rush be desribed as alluring? Ah, well! I do love the guitar all over 'Working Man' and the bass is pretty decent too. The album as a whole is hardly an essential work although should still be interesting to Rush fans of a completist nature.

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    Readers Comments

    bryan jackson fiddlediddle12@hotmail.com
    I wasn't expecting much but this is not as bad as some claim it to be. It’s actually pretty enjoyable all the way through but the Led Zeppelin influences are easy to spot. The three highlights for me (and some of my all-time favourite Rush tunes) are “Take A Friend”, “Before And After”, and “Working Man”.

    VANDAM13@aol.com
    u could tell by the picture on the cover that it was a 70's hit. i really havent heard this album but my dad told me that it was there best one. my stepmom is ordering the album for me so i ope i enjoy it especially the workin man song, my dad said there's a guitar in there that won't quit

    Frank samwise520@yahoo.com
    I noticed that the song "Here Again" was not mentioned. This is sad as although most of the album ranges from not noteworthy to abhorent, and I have been a devoted Rush fan since 1982 when I was 12, this and "Before and After" are good songs that offer a taste (however small) of what they were capable of becoming. Overall though, this album must rate towards the bottom of their collection.


    top of page Fly By Night 8 ( 1975 )
    Anthem / Best I Can / Beneath, Between & Behind / By-Tor & The Snow Dog / Fly By Night / Making Memories / Rivendell / In The End

    A good drummer does more than improve the quality of the drum parts. Yes, the only line-up change in Rush's career occurs with the arrival of new man behind the kit, Neil Peart. He also ended up writing ( or co-writing ) 6 of the songs lyrics. But, back to the drumming. The drum work is improved, lots of pleasant rolls and fills! But, a good drummer also helps out your bass player. A good rhythm section helps out the lead-guitarist. So, everyone here is happy! Not only has the quality of the performances improved over the debut, and the Led Zeppelin influences decreased, but the production sounds absolutely wonderful. Everything is clear, you can hear each single instrument, and focus either on an individual part, or the whole performance and song. This is a good thing! Geddy Lee's vocals sound much the same as they do on the debut, if perhaps a little more confidently executed. The opening song 'Anthem' is just a thing of splendour! Neil Peart immediately enters the fray, the guitar riffs wonderfully, and the bass groove is something to behold. 'Best I Can' continues the use of inventive and addictive guitar patterns and at just under three and a half minutes long, is superbly succinct. More great bass work here, incidentally. 'Beneath Between And Behind' opens with even more impressive and wonderfully executed guitar work, yet more interesting patterns and riffs. The guy was obviously inspired, or something, during the recording of this 'Fly By Night' record. 'By-Tor & The Snow Dog' is an interesting longer song. On the sleeve, Geddy Lee is subtitled as 'By-Tor' and guitarist Alex Lifeson subtitled as 'Snow-Dog'. What does that make Neil Peart then? The ampersand?? Well, he does hold everything together, his sometimes flashy, sometimes impressive, always solid drum work allows Alex and Geddy to go off and improvise and stretch out a little more with their instrumental parts than otherwise they would have been able to do.

    Another lovely little guitar riff opens the title song. Again, at just under three and a half minutes, this is a easily listenable 'pop song', almost, although of course firmly within a Rock guitar framework. It does prove, that even during this still early stage in their career, than Rush were a supremely melodic group of musicians. Besides, the guitar solo that sails through the middle of 'Fly By Night' is a little joy as well as the rest of the song already being as great and as listenable as it is. Phew! 'Making Memories' opens with some folksy acoustic sounding guitar work - a nod back in the direction of Led Zeppelin, perhaps? The bass kicks in, things settle down a little, a little too much in fact. The guitar melodies here are a lot less interesting to me than the parts from any of the opening songs, although a decent enough solo appears, and re-appears, at various points through this song. 'Rivendell' is actually even more folky and mellow than 'Making Memories'. A single guitar line, little pieces of semi-classical guitar picking back a quiet Geddy vocal. It's almost beautiful, but running to a five minute length, ultimately rather dreary. 'In The End' opens quietly again! What is this? The opening five songs were all so great, great melodic rock songs, with the right amount of punch in all the right places! Thankfully, 'In The End' does break out of it's quiet introduction to swing back to the sound of the opening songs, and by the time its finished, leave you satisfied. But, there is still a nagging feeling that this album is a case of nearly, but not quite. I can't actually be too down on it when the opening five songs are all as great as they are. And, they are. They make this album a more than worthy release, even with a couple of lesser songs to follow.

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    bryan jackson fiddlediddle12@hotmail.com
    I feel that this is one strong album, all the way through. Geddy’s voice didn’t improve much over the debut album, but those guitar riffs sure are impressive. The first side rocks, and I would even go as far as to say it’s my favourite side of any Rush album (and I’m talking about vinyl records of course). You have “Anthem”, one of the most intense songs I’ve ever heard them do. “By-Tor & The Snow Dog” is also a really great song and the progressive riff changes make it even more worthwhile. For some reason this song reminds me of the Mega Man series from Capcom (a video game for those unaware). Maybe it’s because there’s a dog named Rush! An enjoyable album the whole way through.


    top of page Caress Of Steel 7 ( 1975 )
    Bastille Day / I Think I'm Going Bald / Lakeside Park / The Necromancer / The Fountain Of Lamneth

    I may be committing some sort of crime now, but I don't always take Rush seriously. Here they are starting to move into the murky waters of progressive rock. Neil Peart exerts a far stronger influence over the lyrical content, but Geddy does sing those lyrics as well as ever. Wait a minute! Did that sound like I don't like Neil Peart's lyrics? It wasn't meant to sound like that! They make me laugh, and seriously, I do mean that in a good way. They just fit Rush, it's hard to imagine Rush with different lyrics. The strange fantasy tinged lyrics actually add to Rush rather than take away from them. 'Bastille Day' opens this record and is full of Alex Lifeson's guitar work, and impressive it is as well. Around the four minute mark, the guitars turn all Queen on us, which is strange! But, 'Bastille Day' is a good song, full of great playing. 'I Think I'm Going Bald' wasn't a song title I was expecting to find on a Rush album. The lyrics here ARE completely ridiculous, the music is a little unimaginative as well, although Neil Peart still does his best on the drums. Much better is 'Lakeside Park' which has a catchy little guitar riff and less 'stupid' lyrics! Wait a minute! Did that sound like I don't like Neil Peart's lyrics? Ah, forget about it! 'Lakeside Park' has great lyrics, and seriously, I do mean that! 'The Necromancer' is a serious type of song. Ah, one thing. I hate songs that open too quietly for too long. Which, this song does! Nearly two minutes pass before any interesting music arrives - Geddy doesn't start singing until two and a half minutes have passed. Everything is slow, everything is bare - but the guitar sounds atmospheric. And of course, there are all these spoken parts.... already this is far removed from the simple joy that was much of the 'Fly By Night' record. 'The Necromancer' still does contain some great musical parts in places, but really is too fragmented to be satisfyingly enjoyable.

    The closing 'Fountain Of Lamenth' opens with some nice acoustic folky guitar and a genuinely moving vocal. Things get louder, the drums and bass boom out, a smile arrives upon your face.... the guitar kicks in! A wonderful riff, repeating, coming in, fading out. 'My eyes have just been opened, and they're opened very wide' sings Geddy, and you can picture that! A great big wide-eyed passionate Geddy singing for all he's worth. The guitar and bass move truly into the territory marked 'impressive' and the song continues to progress. A great drum solo here and there. You know the score. It's one-nil to Neil Peart! The song goes on and on, but does remain relatively interesting if not exactly smooth. The entire album is inconsistent and lacks a real cohesive atmosphere. It's still not bad in places, and it's still impressive in other places. And, that's it, really.

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    Readers Comments

    Bryan Jackson fiddlediddle12@hotmail.com
    This is a so-so release in my opinion. The songs, in order, go like this for me: great, bad, great, bad, great. Well, maybe not bad, but average. Overall, not bad, but tied with Rush’s debut as just an average (nothing bad, but nothing amazing) release.

    Simon Brigham slb23@shaw.ca
    Two words: "Progressive" Rush ? Most of the tracks are very good. Even "I think I'm Going Bald" isn't that bad. And people say that's the worst Rush song!

    Jason Albarin j@windows.datanet.co.uk
    This album needs to be viewed in its context to really be appreciated. Before, you have Fly By Night, which as you make clear is a great great album, full of the energy that Neil had brought to the band. Caress is the next step on in the assimilation of Peart's influence into Rush - mainly lyrically. The songs here have the beginnings of the epic late 70's songs the band became revered for - Xanadu and the like. This is no means the finished article, I totally agree with this, but it is a fascinating development in the band's direction, where the gentler, Tolkien style side is being explored, they are discovering the way music can convey emotion, and it's all leading towards their finest hour of their early career - 2112. Viewed in this setting, it makes it a far better album.

    Jason kristyandjason@hotmail.com
    I pity the fool who thinks "I think I'm going bald" is "completely ridiculous." it is a wonderful blend of Rush's trademark humor and Peart's thoughtful, existential reflections on life that we don't really see again until much later albums. It marks the transition from childhood innocence to the cynicism of adulthood. How can you not appreciate "Once we loved the flowers, Now we ask the price of the land?" Better and more thoughtful than 99.99% of lyrics out there.


    top of page 2112 ( 1976 )
    2112 / A Passage To Bangkok / The Twilight Zone / Lessons / Tears / Something For Nothing

    Well, what exactly do we have here? I'll start by saying the arrival of this page on Rush on my site was fortuitous. I have temporary access to somebody else’s CD collection. That person has an enormous number of Rush albums so I thought I’d take advantage of that and immerse myself in Rush music for a while. So, I’m coming into them from a novice standpoint. I've done little research and have tried to judge the albums as I've heard them. And, I have heard them! This album has taken me a lot longer to get into than any of the first three. The opening '2112' is a lengthy suite in sections. Something of a storytelling concept piece. It's certainly something you need time to get your head around. I have now! My third or fourth listen. It's arrived. The lyrics were initially off putting. They sounded obscure, poetic but without much actual meaning. I've just described them as 'story telling' however. They are. You need time to get into the story behind the music. The music itself is ultimately what holds it together however. Rush were still developing as performers. The middle section of '2112' 'Discovery' which is a beautiful quiet guitar piece is also a centrepiece of the story. Following that is a superbly played segment with wonderful guitar atop good ensemble playing all round. Can you call a three piece an ensemble? Well, I just have! The remainder of the piece contains many often beautiful passages of music. Geddy Lee sings of course. His voice? Well yeah. His rock screaming voice sounds initially odd over this particular piece. Ultimately though it adds to the otherworldly feel of the whole thing. It's twenty minutes long in total and does draw you in. It's a world all of it's own. It's not a world you have to enter into, but once you do, you'll actually find it pretty hard to leave.

    The second side of the record is just a regular Rush album. After the preceding delights it sounds rather out of place. Still, many good moments. 'A Passage To Bangkok' is yet more great guitar playing, bass playing, drumming.... you get the point! The lyrics could be almost anything. They sound good when sung however. 'The Twilight Zone' has a nice little distinctive opening before progressing though a mostly mid-tempo, always melodic rock song. 'Lessons' continues this. It's a good song. Whatever the unusual sounding voice of the guy that's singing it! It makes me smile, actually. Maybe I’m starting to like this band a whole lot more. 'Tears' is easily the most affecting slower song they'd done to date. And, the whole package closes with 'Something For Nothing' which if nothing else, shows their continuing development not just as musicians but as creative thoughtful songwriters. A great album all in all. And, upon my first exposure to this, I certainly never thought I find myself saying that! <

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    bryan jackson fiddlediddle12@hotmail.com
    The more I listen to this album, the more I like it. Originally I didn’t find it as interesting as many other people who like or love Rush, but after numerous listens, it has indeed gotten much better. This is a great Rush album overall, but I don’t think it’s the greatest progressive rock album ever made like some try telling me it is. Buy it.

    VANDAM13@aol.com
    a scientific album i see. one of those albums were the songs fit the subject.well, the 20 minutee song was one to remember and it was wierd how they had two songs in each song but tears was i think the only slow song by rush and is one to remeber but it was the only song that didnt fit the album. however, something for nothing was my favorite song on the album and really enjoyed it. if u have heard it u willl reconize this: ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

    john, county kildare, ireland john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    sometime way back in 1992, i was seduced by the fancy idea of painting my bedroom, or more to the point, was forced to do it by my parents. in between my regular breaks from this soul breaking chore, i kept my sanity, with regular pep up listens to "2112", that my friend had loaned to me, a few days before, secretly from his uncle's collection. "lessons", is a song that will always stay in my mind, with its quirkiness, and indeed, rare display of lyrical prowess from alex. "tears", although time has not necessarily been kind kind to it, is an under appreciated display of soul bearing. the title track, if i could call it that, actually manages to make prog rock sound respectable, (never!!!!!!!!!!) and no review of this album, could be complete, without complementing "a passage to bangkok" with its vibrant air of mystery and intrigue, making up, what is in general, a fine piece of work. oh i forget to mention, that when i gave my friend back the album, he made a mighty big dea! l about the tiny speckles of paint, that had splashed on the protective see through outer sheet, the jerk...... god, he was such a techy little prick.

    Robert Potts insidiousdreamer@gmail.com
    Perhaps the most overrated album in progressive rock's history. The title song really isn't a seven-part epic at all--it's seven short songs that got yoked together under the umbrella of a 20-minute track. True, there's also the stinko subject matter by which Peart was fascinated for some reason, but lyrics-no-matter-how-good would be enough to save that song. The rest is inconsequential filler. Gave it a 2.112 for effort.

    Frank samwise520@yahoo.com
    Here I noticed that people discuss Neil's storytelling, and trying to get ahold of the concept. To get a better idea of the concept, I suggest the listener read Ayn Rand's Anthem (available for free online). This is not only where the concept for 2112 comes from, it is also the name they chose for their record company as well as a song title you might recognize. The book is one of Rand's shortest ones. It can be read in a few hours. After reading this, you will find that Neil has incorperated Rand's philosophy of Objectivism into much of his writing.


    top of page A Farewell To Kings 9 ( 1977 )
    A Farewell To Kings / Xanadu / Closer To The Heart / Cinderella Man / Madrigal / Cygnus X-1

    Neal Peart drums for his life on this album. He's superb and goes far beyond what a drummer should do, powering the songs forward melodically rather than just filling out the sound. Elsewhere, for the tricky breakthrough album follow-up, Rush do just fine. Some fans rate 'A Farewell To Kings' as the finest Rush hour, others rate it as merely solid. Where do I fit? Well, it's closer to being their finest than merely solid. The only critiscm I can immediately think of is that the album is far too short. Five songs, thirty seven minutes. Very repeat playable, yet another song would have pushed this album towards classic status. Two lengthy songs here, 'Xanadu' and 'Cygnus X-1', both typical Rush kind of song titles. Before those, we have a very nifty title track. Superb playing, very melodic, very fast, very rock n roll. I love the instrumental break. Everybody just plays their gloves off, so to speak, take their socks off and dip their arms in the sand and have fun. Ah, something like that! What's even more astonishing about this title track is how it really does perfectly represent the entire album in just five minutes. They could have done a forty minute long version of the title track and i'd be happy. As it is, they had to write another decent four tunes as well. How dare they??! The opening atmospheric noises of 'Xanadu' indicate some thought towards the albums arrangements and production. It's a decent production, no gimmicks and a very clean sound. The level of Rush performing standards has upped another notch, although really only noticeable in the already excellent Neal Peart. More of which later. He gets a star turn.

    'Xanadu', a good five/six minutes of superbly melodic and proficient music arrives before the vocals. It's now later, and for a guy that's never played air-drums, Neil makes me want to play air-drums on this tune. Far more fun than playing air-guitar. He really plays those patterns and makes the tune. Geddy is just the voice atop the noise. Well, a bit unfair, his voice of course, being distinctive as it is, somehow works too. 'Closer To The Heart' borders on being a pop song. It's a Rush pop song and it's very very catchy, even my wife to be likes it and she's no Rush fan. 'Cinderella Man' is solid, 'Madrigal' less so before the closer amazes us with more stupendous drum work. As I say, I wanted another song. Other than that and 'Madrigal', you can't really pick too many holes in this wonderful album release that in a fit of excitement i'm going to give a '9'. I like Rush.

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    John, County Kildare. john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    Rush realistically have never been a band that gave a fuck. Well, what's that got to what what I ultimately want to say, probably not much... From the subtlety of the sound here, the power of the music actually works a lot more effectively, than if maybe they had gone for a live sound, which I believe would have been the deciding factor in wether this album is a success or not, well, that and the fact that these are amongst some of the best songs ever written of course... Verdict? Has to be 10/10..


    top of page Hemispheres ( 1978 )
    Hemipsheres / Circumstances / The Trees / La Villa Strangioto

    There is trouble in the forest as the maples scream oppression and the oaks steal their shade…. and what is this nonsense?! Good tune, though, ‘The Trees’. Lyrically, I’ve no real complaints for the album apart from ‘The Trees’ which manages to irritate me with its mention of, well, trees. I probably shouldn’t have been surprised, but I am. This is the 2nd time I’ve reviewed ‘Hemispheres’ and I’m still none the wiser. It seems to be an album that I personally find very difficult to get into. I made a comment last time around about the album artwork, the human bodies laid out naked. Apparently meant to represent the human brain and tie in the the album title, it still leaves me cold. After two wonderful albums of undoubted ambition and progress for Rush, ‘Hemispheres’ seems to be where the wheels come off their prog stylings, slightly. Four songs, several of them very lengthy but not feeling lengthy for reasons other than to pad out the tunes. Sure, the padding is often great playing and soloing, yet the different segments in the songs don’t seem naturally integrated to me.

    So, a 2nd attempt at reviewing ‘Hemispheres’. I must have listened to the album dozens and dozens of times. It lacks the catchy pop hooks, there’s no ‘Closer To The Heart’ for example. Indeed switch around ‘Hemispheres’ and ‘A Farewell To Kings’ in Rush history and the line of progress Rush took makes more sense that way, ‘Closer To The Heart’ leading into the shorter, more concise material Rush would release in the early eighties. ‘Circumstances’ is good, ‘All the same we take our chances…. TRICKED by circumstances’, hard to resist, you see. A title track is forgotten which only works an ounce as well as ‘2112’. ‘Hemispheres’ lacks the same melodic power that ‘A Farewell To Kings’ or ‘2112’ possessed. There’s good playing abound, but not enough thrills for this listener. The closing tune is a guitar tour-de-force and also easily the best thing on the album, a step above everything else. Superb playing, solo’s, drums, the works. I blame the title song, that’s the major let-down compared to prime, flame-grilled 100% Rush burger. Still, the album is ok, pretty good overall, just not excellent as immediately before.

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    Readers Comments

    bryan jackson fiddlediddle12@hotmail.com
    The more I listen to this album, the more I like it. Originally I didn’t find it as interesting as many other people who like or love Rush, but after numerous listens, it has indeed gotten much better. This is a great Rush album overall, but I don’t think it’s the greatest progressive rock album ever made like some try telling me it is. Buy it.

    VANDAM13@aol.com
    a scientific album i see. one of those albums were the songs fit the subject.well, the 20 minutee song was one to remember and it was wierd how they had two songs in each song but tears was i think the only slow song by rush and is one to remeber but it was the only song that didnt fit the album. however, something for nothing was my favorite song on the album and really enjoyed it. if u have heard it u willl reconize this: ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

    Russ Cline abbeyroadnow@aol.com
    My fav rush album. Trees is pure poetry (Ayn Rand) influence. Rush is the most popularly ignored band and also has what could be one of the largest ( cult?) followings of any band. Rush rocks man.

    Andrew brink_68@hotmail.com
    well hemispheres is about weather humanity should listen to the heart...(emotional forces and drives aka FAITH) or the mind(science and the sort..aka FACT)and in the end peart tells us to have a balance of the two thus "the balance of heart and mind". rush is very symboic. like on the trees....its a metaphor for who has the power? who makes the rules? whos in control? and eventually they work out a democracy(actually it could be looked at as a communist where they all recieve equal quantities of light....

    Kevin kevin.futers@blueyonder.co.uk
    How can you not like the Trees? You have to remember that the band are Canadian and therefore the Maples & Oaks are the Canadians and the Brits - the end is the more peaceful and egalitarian resolution than Britain managed with the USA. Fair comments regarding the album as a whole, though again I love Circumstances ("plus ca change plus c'est la meme chose" - great lyrics!)

    Lateraliner23
    Hemispheres getting a 7 & 1/2?????????!!!!!! How come no one is complaining about this? Adrian, you are total trash for ridiculing this album! The title track beats '2112' by a longshot in terms of cohesion and dynamic. To each his own I know but this is "Hemispheres" we're talking about! One of the most defining albums of progressive rock! You obviously don't understand Rush do you Adrian? GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!

    adrian.sb9@gmail.com
    The Trees' lyrics are among the best I've heard. They are a metaphore of human society. About Hemispheres, read a little greek mythology.

    Nic Quebec
    How big a dumbass are you?! You gave Rush's best album a lower score than Fly by Night, one of their worst. This album is like progressive rock heaven!


    top of page Permanent Waves 8 ( 1980 )
    The Spirit of Radio / Freewill / Jacob's Ladder / Entre Nous / Different Strings / Natural Science

    Let's be honest, progressive rock had been looking a bit peaky for several years by the time Rush made their switch to more concise material. Rush had an advantage Genesis also had however, they'd already demonstrated they could work well with shorter material. Despite some obvious stand-outs ( the first two songs ) 'Permanent Waves' isn't quite an instant classic, though. Well, the first half of the album is as flawless as it can be within what Rush were trying to acheive. The 2nd half follows a similar pattern to the first, yet simply pales in comparison. Overall, it's a decent record though. Plenty of good playing, as expected. Particular through the instrumental sections of 'Jacob's Ladder', incidentally. First of all we rush through ( ha-ha! ) 'The Spirit Of Radio' which was always going to get played on the radio. Clever song, catchy song. The structure is interesting, it lacks any kind of obvious chorus instead relying on that repeating, distinctive guitar riff it has. Geddy proves he can sing what amounts to new-wave pop music equally as well as whatever else he'd so far tried to sing. 'Freewill' although more straight-forward than 'Spirit Of Radio' is just a stunningly good song. Perfectly constructued and bringing all the Rush flavour and stylings into a mere five minute rock song. Geddy's vocals are actually exceptional during 'Freewill', he owns the song and the rhythm section and lead guitar are superbly concise and add the requisite tricky parts only where strictly required to do so.

    'Entre Nous' is fine enough, yet lacks the hooks of either of the first two tunes. Well, a lot of songs lack the hooks of those two songs, so if i'm being unfair on 'Entre Nous', I didn't mean to be. The song needed to have a little more passion or something injected into the performance. Rush take an almost studied pace through the tune, Neal Peart seemingly the only one pushing the song actually forwards. Still a good song though, I like the vocal melodies. 'Different Strings' is a Rush ballad and not a particularly distinctive moment in such an admittedly small genre as 'Rush Ballads' proves to be. Which leaves just the longest song on the album to discuss. Well, I could talk more about 'Jacobs Ladder' but I shan't. Let's just say that like nearly all the 2nd half songs, this one is good but not as good as its first half equivalent. It sounds like it is, a throwback to an earlier Rush era to which the band were leaving behind. Still, the two longer songs give 'Permanent Waves' it's weight and balance, bridging the gap between the old and the new. It's a decent album, but somewhat controversially, not a remarkable one listened to years after it won over a whole new legion of Rush fans previously uncatered for by the band.

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    Readers Comments

    John, County Kildare. john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    n 8 Adrian? Well, okay, but I'd probably add another half mark to that, perhaps even a 9, if I'm feeling like a good Christian, which I am today, so it's a 9/10 then. "Jacob's Ladder" candidate for best Rush song also......

    Russ Cline abbeyroadnow@aol.com
    well hey its the silver medal...only lost to moving pictures...in the uhh...pop light.but in my own light its still up there. very good...freewill ,spirit of radio...good good ones and i love natural science.

    Bob Roberts Chicago, USA
    I couldn't disagree with you more on Jacob's Ladder. It is a very good Rush song, probably my favorite of the album. "Thunderheads are rolling in a distant overture . . ." If you lived through some of the terrible thunderstorms we do here on the Prairie in North America you would understand. Sometimes you think the world is coming to an end. The song captures the feel perfectly.


    top of page Moving Pictures ( 1981 )
    Tom Sawyer / Red Barchetta / YYZ / Limelight / The Camera Eye / Witch Hunt / Vital Signs

    I'm not going to be predictable and call this the one Rush album to own if you must have any, etc and so forth. 'Moving Pictures' was a commercial peak for the band and radio play was huge in the US for several of the albums tracks, generally three of the first four tracks. The instrumental 'YYZ' is fairly stunning though, superb musicianship and a rock instrumental it's actually great to listen to again and again. Bass all over the shop with fast fluid lines from Lee and all sorts of odd percussive effects from Peart. Good stuff. Anyway, back to the beginning. Because this album holds a special place in the heart of many Rush fans i'm not automatically going to simply praise it and leave it at that. True, tracks one to four are very strong, not the best ever the group have done, but yes, very strong. Moving onto 'The Camera Eye' which outstays its welcome a little running to ten minutes plus, we find fault. Nothing is perfect and 'The Camera Eye' could easily have lost a few minutes from its running time and have been improved. Two songs and eight minutes remain after 'The Camera Eye' and we want them to be a good eight minutes and two strong songs to leave a nice taste in the mouth and make us want to repeat-play the album to hear them again. Do they manage such a task? Well, 'Witch Hunt' has plenty of keyboards yet don't quite enough melody of a distinctive kind. It's very atmospheric but simply doesn't register in my brain. The closing 'Vital Signs' is better, Rush getting back to uptempo rock music. Well, a hint of a reggae beat, interesting lyrics and a decent tune all round. Still not enough for the second half of this album to be fairly forgettable, though.

    'Tom Sawyer' is a great four and a half minutes. Distinctive guitar parts, great lyrics, good playing of course. Listen for the tricky rhythms Neal Peart effortlessly inserts into the tune without you even noticing. Keyboards play a prominent role, building from the keyboard work that enlivened parts of 'Permanent Waves'. 'Red Barchetta' is my pick of the bunch this time around. Straight away a memorable melody gets the song going. Rush move slightly towards pop music waters whilst still retaining their rock flavour. I must say I generally have a preference for hummable Rush tunes if I can help it. Finally for the purposes of this review, 'Limelight' is another instantly melodic slice of rock music, keyboards integrated well. Great vocal melodies this time around makes the tune a winner. So, all in all, a solid album, if terribly front-loaded. Still, Rush were on a roll and their next album would build upon the keyboard work particularly contained within both 'Permanent Waves' and 'Moving Pictures'.

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    John, County Kildare. john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    Mildly overrated, and I have to admit not liking "Limelight" that much, it seems to be Rush by numbers at this stage, and I've never liked Alex using Fender guitars as well for some reason or another, still, I'd give the album a 9/10 for "Camera Eye", "YYZ", "Witch Hunt", and "Tom Saywer", although I think Geddy in recent times may have refered to this as Rush's best song, it is not, still in the top 5 best though.

    Steve smudger5150@yahoo.co.uk
    well people say its the best album....and my friend and i have a joke that casual fans answer "tom sawyer" when asked of their favorite song. however your right.,..the second half just degrades the album as a whole just a bit. dont get me wrong..they are on a roll of big hits....and its a major roll in the transition in to the 80's but the pre and pro albums are better

    Michael DeWitt
    Personally after reading these reviews, it would seem that Rush was judged on it's ability to have pop catchy tunes. In my opinion this is a flawed way to review this group. Perhaps Rush's most epic pieces over these three albums were Hemispheres "La Villa Strangiato", "Natural Science" and "The Camera Eye" Yet there is no mention other than Camera Eye should have been shorter? Which would seriously destroy the build up to possibly one of the best bass Guitar solo's ever to grace music. In order to appreciate what Rush truly has to offer one must completely clear ones mind, it is only then will one have the ability to discover that in many rush songs we get three songs for the price of one, each part unique to it's other two parts yet somehow intertwining into a cohesive melody that sounds good on the surface, but it is the genius of the individual portions that set Rush apart from any other band. Immerse yourself and listen closer.

    Michael DeWitt
    Let's face it, peoples' opinions are always going to differ when music (and art in general) is concerned. Personally, I think 'The Camera Eye' is one of the best pieces that Rush have done. In particular, I love the guitar riff and the bass fills when the song speeds up and the 2nd solo is one of my favourites from Alex Lifeson. The track does start slowly with keyboard/synthesizer setting the scene and I do concede that if you don't like a song to start slowly then you won't like this. But viewing the album as a whole, I think Adrian got the score right but mainly because I don't particularly love Vital Signs and find Limelight 'ok' (whereas I think it's a favourite for some people - well it's definitely one of Alex Lifeson's favourite guitar riffs!). For the rest of the album, Tom Sawyer is, for me, an excellent rock/prog/pop hybrid; XYZ is a funky-rock instrumental driven by a 'chicken-scratch' guitar riff (that's how Prince's singer/dancer Cat described that 'type' ! of sound - note: she wasn't referring to Rush at the time...); Witch-hunt is dark, slow and brooding almost Jacob's ladder-like; and Red Barchetta is very good but not, for me, the pick of the bunch. So 5 out of 7 are cracking tunes, but slightly different order to other people who will review this album. It could be that some people will prefer shorter/punchier tunes and in a way, this album is a bit inconsistent in that the 1st side/1st 4 tracks lay down that template, and when the 2nd side starts, the Camera Eye is a bit of an anachronism, almost being too 'epic' for this period of Rush. But as Michael DeWitt says, you have to immerse yourself - something which I think you always have to do with longer tracks, whoever the artist. But then again, this is coming from one who loves any style of Rush song, whether long or short, epic or restrained. I mean, I wouldn't have been adverse to Rush knocking out an epic or two in their later albums too. But I also wou! ldn't downgrade any album for not having them either.

    Rush Limphog
    Subdivisions is my favorite "album" because of the way the songs work together, and I love the reggae feel of the rythm section. and coming off Moving pictures, it was light and refreshing. However, the most powerful SONGS IMO are the hits off of Moving Pictures, and as a drummer, tom sawyer may be commercial, but it is a song that any drummer is pround to be able to master. Red Barchetta and Limelight are also classic songs that move the listener and have technique in spades...


    top of page Signals ( 1982 )
    Subdivisions / The Analog Kid / Chemistry / Digital Man / The Weapon / New World Man / Losing It / Countdown

    Alex Lifeson must have started to get worried. Lead track 'Subdivisions' is very heavy on the keyboards, combines a strong rhythm section with this, but contains very little actual guitar bar a decent solo towards the end. Still, it hardly matters here at least - because the keyboards are melody filled, the vocals are strong and even the lyrics are pretty great. One of my favourite Rush songs, this 'Subdivisions' - I really can't get enought of it!! Dig the chorus parts, especially. 'The Analog Kid' seems to remember, that however fine 'Subdivisions' may be, that the group do in fact have a guitar player! Lots of riffing, little fine parts. The keyboards add to the sound here, rather than dominate. The lyrics sound better than they actually read on paper, perhaps because the vocals haven't been pushed up front so much here. Whatever, it's another fine song which adds to a strong start to this album. 'Chemistry' opens with a wash and flourish of keyboards, the drums kick in - all dramatic like. Rush still had a sense of 'occasion', shall we say :) A spiralling guitar figure appears courtesy of Alex Lifeson, and there you have it! 'Digital Man' opens with a spray of drums, the guitar enters - everyone plays very well indeed, and it wraps up the first half of this Rush album nicely.

    Opening the second side we get 'The Weapon' which opens with an electro new romantic late seventies/early eighties funky keyboard sound! Gosh!! It sounds pretty charming actually, and still contains the requisite tricksy Rush patterns and changes. 'New World Man' is another strong, melodic song - although I don't think much of the apparent debt this song owes to The Police, musically. Of course, Geddy Lee sings, so this remains distinctive, and the middle section of the song actually owes nothing at all to The Police, so that's OK! Do I have a problem with The Police, then? Um, not really. No. Just don't like that particular sound popping up here, that's all! 'Losing It' features more of Geddy Lee's keyboard work although this time the song isn't as strong melody wise as others here. It's pretty much made up for however by the nice sounding guitar solo through the middle and end of the song. 'Countdown' sees more keyboards, more guitars - a little tribute to NASA and space travel, astronaunts and the like. Now, if that sounds absolutely an awful prospect, don't despair too much. The song itself is fine, if still containing more of those sounding ok, but reading badly on paper Neil Peart lyrics. On the otherhand, you shouldn't be 'reading' this album, you should be listening to it! It's a strong, pretty consistent album that's highly enjoyable. And, that's it, really.

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    John, County Kildare. john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    Mildly overrated, and I have to admit not liking "Limelight" that much, it seems to be Rush by numbers at this stage, and I've never liked Alex using Fender guitars as well for some reason or another, still, I'd give the album a 9/10 for "Camera Eye", "YYZ", "Witch Hunt", and "Tom Saywer", although I think Geddy in recent times may have refered to this as Rush's best song, it is not, still in the top 5 best though.

    jeanyus Seattle, WA
    I own 16 of the 19 Rush studio albums, play a lot of them regularly, including "Snakes & Arrows".Everything since Moving Pictures is crap. I bought Signals on cassette the day it came out and I still haven't recovered from the disappointment 27 years later. They sold out to the almighty dollar but I still listen because, well, it's Rush, the greatest band ever.


    top of page Grace Under Pressure ( 1984 )
    Distant Early Warning / Afterimage / Red Sector A / The Enemy Within / The Body Electric / Kid Gloves / Red Lenses / Between the Wheels

    A new Rush sound is introduced. The keyboards are less prominent here than 'Signals' and 'Grace Under Pressure' is more of a guitar album thanks to the tricks of Alex Lifeson. He gets several then new for him noises out of his guitar. The bass of Geddy Lee and drums of Neal Peart are as reliable as ever, although there isn't really a lot of showing off on this album. Both bass and drums have some electronic treatment, incidentally. The different instruments and sounds are well mixed. Ultimately however, this is an album more about songs than flashy styles or playing. You'll find a myriad of differing opinions from fans unsure what to make of this album. Some can see past the style and get to the songs. Others mourn the lack of an obvious radio hit, as if that what Rush was really about anyway? Others claim that Rush took 'Subdivisions' from the previous LP and made a whole new one that sounded exactly like that 'layering and layering' these 'Grace Under Pressure' songs with keyboards. Another fan ( these opinions can all be found on rateyourmusic.com ) claims that this is a guitar dominated album quite in contrast to 'Signals' and I agree with him. Well, to a point. I mentioned that the sounds are well mixed and they are. No one instrument dominates, not even the vocals. It's not been a case of turning anything down, rather in effect, Rush have become a true four-piece, even though they only have three members. So, Geddy gets to sing, play bass and lay down the keyboard parts. Alex tries his damndest and does get some wonderful guitar parts through. Neal Peart writes fairly decent lyrics although his drum work here isn't amongst his most notable.

    The soviets on the move.... the reds .... under your bed. 'Red Lenses' is a fine tune, as is 'Kid Gloves', perhaps the catchiest tune on the LP, actually. 'Distant Early Warning', whilst not as fine as 'Subdivisions' from the previous LP serves a similar 'introducing the new sound' purpose as well as being one of the finest tunes on the LP. 'Red Sector A' whilst hardly Gary Numan is still one of the 'beepy' songs here, although Neal Peart makes himself heard all the same. I like his drumming on 'Between The Wheels' and that's about all I have left to say about the LP. It's a strong LP, not one of the groups finest but you can't do that every time you enter the studio, can you?

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    Analogue Kid Between The Wheels
    If you grew up on their older works, this album ruined your day. It is decades after it came out and I'm just starting to give it a try. Skip Red Sector A and Try Afterimage, Enemy Within, and Kid Gloves. Clash, Police, and Asia influences. The S.o.s song is hard to listen to unless your a dork squad leader. only for diehards - but o.k.


    top of page Power Windows 8 ( 1985 )
    The Big Money / Grand Designs / Manhattan Project / Marathon / Territories / Middletown Dreams / Emotion Detector / Mystic Rhythms

    My partner just walked in whilst I was listening to this album and said, 'what's that your listening to, Phil Collins?' Don't worry, this won't affect my attitude or mood towards 'Power Windows'. Whilst some fans bemoan the shift Rush had away from guitars and towards synths, this was the mid-eighties, after all. I mean, Rush had always been technically proficient, so I wouldn't expect some clunking, badly produced mid-eighties album. You know, like the ones Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, etc, etc - produced in the mid-eighties. Alex Lifeson proves here, even with this album being synth led, that there is life in the guitar yet. There was a lot of talk in the Eighties about 'real' instruments being dead, you see. He proves that assumption wrong. 'Marathon' for instance sees a classic guitar solo sail through the mid section of the tune, most enjoyably. Neil Peart plays, what from the sounds of it seems like one of those electronic drum kits. Even the bass has been processed through something electronic sounding. It doesn't bother me, because the seperation of the instruments is good. Each instrument shines through being played by a good musician and played in an imaginative way. To repeat, this isn't a Phil Collins album.

    There are perhaps no out and out Rush classics on 'Power Windows', yet I would say the whole is more than the sum of its parts. The songs are of a piece stylistically, yet with enough variation in the way the instruments are played song to song to keep you interested. You may say that with each tune being 5/6 minutes long, that some suffer from padding. I don't find that. Each song moves through variations sections and stages. If anything, i'd have liked a couple of have been longer still. 'Manhatten Project' for example is fairly stunning to my ears, a symphonic pop/rock song during some parts, surpremely melodic throughout all parts. 'Big Money' is a catchy little number but more importantly for some, the keyboard and especially the bass parts are superb. Just listen to the bass, concentrate. It does great things. Another highlight on the LP is the 2nd song, 'Grand Designs'. Again, superb bass and plenty of melodies, decent lyrics too as this song shines. It could have been a hit, for my money. So, 'Power Windows' rises above the mediocrity that was a lot of mid-eighties rock music. It's an intelligent album, it's well produced and the writing and playing are excellent. What more did you want?

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    Electric Love davidandino83@msn.com
    i don't know but i do know one thing: this is a beautiful album. yeah it screams 80's at your face but you also have to decode each neil peart lyric that makes sense. i do yoga when putting on territories. big money, marathon and grand desings are beautiful songs full of guitar and soaring synths and peart is peart. don't test me. jk. anyway i give this a ten next to ftk, mp, the debut, fly by night caress and most of all: 2112.


    top of page Snakes And Arrows 8 ( 2007 )
    Far Cry / Armor And Sword / Workin' Them Angels / The Larger Bowl / Spindrift / The Main Monkey Business / The Way The Wind Blows / Hope / Faithless / Bravest Face / Good News First / Malignant Narcissism / We Hold On

    A new Rush album is nearly always welcome. Good news, they've got the production sorted after some differing productions of late. The sound highlights all three musicians well. They sound surprisingly vigourous as well for a bunch of 'old-timers'. 'Electrical changes' sings Geddy as only he can on the opening 'Far Cry'. 'One day I feel i'm ahead of the wheel', well, indeed. Very pleasing melodic opener. 'Such a lot of pain on the earth' sings Geddy on 'The Larger Bowl'. It's a little too much bordering on AOR for my liking, although the guitar solo is neat. Led Zeppelin and a touch of Rush's prog roots both combine in a song like 'We Hold On'. Neil Peart makes himself heard and Geddy hasn't sounded as good in years. Never write off Rush, it's a mistake i've made in the past. A messy, exhilarating guitar solo from Lifeson, a rolling bass line. 'We Hold On' is good stuff. Oooh, acoustic guitar is a feature of 'Hope'. It sounds like Led Zeppelin, now there's a trip back into Rush past. Sadly, this is two minutes of nice sounding filler in reality as nothing else happens. 'The Main Monkey Business' is a highlight here, returning Rush to progressive rock styled playing that also, well, ROCKS. It's a lengthy enough song at six minutes without being a fifteen minute, multi-segmented beast that threatens to tilt the album off-balance. The production is great, really good seperation between the instruments. The guitar playing is the star on this track, stupendous stuff really. I'd love to see the guys live playing 'The Main Monkey Business' because on its own its epic enough to fill a stadium with sound. The urgent riff that comes in circa two and a half minutes brings back to mind Led Zeppelin again but we don't mind that. We don't even mind no vocals appearing, only Rush it seems can do consistently enjoyable rock instrumentals these days.

    Neal Peart is still one of the great drummers, Geddy Lee is still Geddy Lee although not as high pitched as he used to be of course. Alex Lifeson wouldn't be doing much if he wasn't in Rush. The prospect of an Alex Lifeson solo album hardly thrills me, but i'm glad he's still in Rush because he's on form throughout 'Snakes And Arrows' and provides some of the albums most memorable moments, his spiralling guitar figure all through the wonderful 'Faithless' included. For the closing tune 'We Hold On' they could be talking about their career. 'We could be down and gone but we hold on'. I think 'Snakes And Arrows' is far more than mere holding on, it's the sound of a band still interested and still interested in proving that they are worthy. Rush never were a band to reinvent the wheel, so 'Snakes And Arrows' doesn't exactly provide us with any new directions, but this is likely the best they've sounded in a couple of decades.

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    Russ Cline abbeyroadnow@aol.com
    this brand new album has already joined my top five rush albums!! true true, that they sound the best the have since....ROLL THE BONES..NEARLY A DECADE AND A HALF EARLIER!!yes good lyrics...good singing...good points on faith are made...i cant wait til the concert!!!

    bob bob@hotmail.com
    I love rush but really everything after moving pictures bores me. The new album sounds like they jammed some music and Geddy tried to fit Neils poems over top of it. I dont find it very melodic. Perm waves and Moving Pics are by far their greatest commercial accomplishments. Every album before those were great for there progressive rock content and creativity (excluding the first album)

    paul condie paulalexc@aol.m
    i wish i could share your enthusiasm but i can't this album is directionless and bland, their earlier work such as moving pictures and hemispheres still rank as their best work ever in my opinion

    mike dolphanmike@aim.com
    This one of their best albums and certainly the best since Signals. You may need to play it three or four times but once you do you will get hooked on it.

    Jeffriana Cascone suddenhorses@att.net
    I've been a Rush fan since 82, and I have to give the truth about the band's downfall. It is truth, because Rush have lost the ability to write truly dynamic songs. To be fair, Rush were going downhill on Test for Echo, and they didn't recover much after that, and I feel as a musician, my opinion holds more ground on these matters then some musically illiterate nitwits. I don't mind Rush changing their style, but what the hell happened to the DYNAMICS of their song writing. Snakes and Arrows, and Vapor Trails are crap. I know of Neil Peart's family tragedy, and though it was a horrible thing to happen, it also didn't help Rush recover musically. I feel Rush should have taken a long break, go through the grieving process, and then write. When I say the words musically and dynamics, I mean: What happened to the creative phrasing, the intricate bass and drum relationship, the guitar solos that would astound and give the listener goosebumps, the transposing of keys, and tricky t! ime signature changes, the gritty sound, free of overly producing hands. What happened to Rush!!? The 'old fuddy duddy' defense won't work here, because I'm talking about musical ability, not new CREATIVE styles or sounds. Even lyrically, you can't say that anything new by Rush can compare to the poetic genius of let's say, "The Weapon" and "Red Barchetta", or even later tunes like "Middletown Dreams." The new material just sounds like a bunch of old washed out hippies trying to reclaim their old glory and failing miserably. Now, it's all 4/4 time, the guitar is nothing but bar chords glued together, with astonishly lame acoustic guitar passages. The bass is less melodic and too muddy, the drums are devoid of any Steve Smith(Journey, now jazz artist) like genius, and if I hear Neil Peart do his YYZ ride cymbal rhythm in one more song, I'm going to be ill. I really really miss the real Rush. They have to be better than this, they just have to. Where their unbelievable talen! t went to I don't know, but for them to give old time fans thi! s kind o f sonic wreckage is no doubt a slap in the face.

    Mike Chino
    Boy oh boy everybody a genius when it comes to picking apart a Rush Album (CD)Snakes And Arrows was a great concert (May 11,2008)I've been a fan since 73, or 4.They have withstood knuckle-headed reviews for 30 years,they will go down in music history as a great trio. I'm hoping for 30 more years.Mike Q

    Zach Parkman Athens OH
    WOW!! I can't imagine having been a Rush fan since the 70's or 80's and feel like Moving Pictures was the apex. I think they have only grown and gotten better over time, Presto and Roll the Bones can hold up to Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures anyday of the week. I took a hiatus from Rush about the time Rush went on hiatus from themselves, so when they came back with Vapor Trails I was hesitent, but they blew me away with a ferocity I hadn't heard since the 80's. Snakes & Arrows has only built on that. I am really excited about this band in a way I haven't been since I first heard them.

    Alan EnglandYou didnt review them all....... good cos most of the reviews are worded like you cant be arsed anyway so why bother doing the entire back catalogue, and who didnt get bored in 1985??. This little compendium illustrates there is no in between with RUSH, you either do or you dont. Your words completely lack passion which is what the music here is all about. waste of screen space. love your Fall reviews tho, see thats how i feel about RUSH ( and the Fall). Thanks anyway!


    top of page this page last updated 16/06/13


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