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Rush - Moving Pictures (40th Anniversary) Music Album Reviews

Rush - Moving Pictures (40th Anniversary) Music Album Reviews
In 1981, Rush fully transformed from a prog-rock trio to a mainstay of classic rock. A 40th-anniversary reissue of Moving Pictures captures the band at their absolute peak.

Dismissed by critics as Led Zeppelin wannabes, the Canadian prog-rock trio Rush spent the ’70s converting adolescents to bookish fancies with Alex Lifeson’s six-string runs, Neil Peart’s percussive kinetics, and a dexterousness on bass by Geddy Lee that complemented a vocal approach best described as a legible shriek. It awed kids who grew up with Rush. In 1997, Stephen Malkmus devoted a stanza to Lee in Pavement’s “Stereo.” So the Canadian trio and Zeppelin had similarities after all: Like Robert Plant, Lee sang as if he were a second guitar. Differences too: Where Zep stank of sex, Rush smelled of bookshelf dust.

Gauche enough (i.e. young enough) to laud the “genius of Ayn Rand” in the liner notes to 2112 (1976), Rush flitted through the decade setting their influences to music. Now that no one younger than 50 gives a damn about why punk recoiled from prog, those albums before 1980 offer solid, stolid musical elongations on the addled fiction familiar to, say, fans of Genesis’ 1973 album Selling England by the Pound. With Rush, though, there was a turbulence, an aversion to the ornamental. When they discovered they could sound pretty on A Farewell to Kings’ “Closer to the Heart,” it was a glass of wine after years of grape juice.

Touring had taught Rush the interior design of their own material. Moving Pictures is the result. Released in 1981, their eighth studio album—reissued in honor of its 40th anniversary in a sumptuous multidisc/multi-LP set—mastered concision. Instead of three- and four-minute things like “Fly By Night,” “The Trees,” and “Closer to the Heart” acting like smoke breaks between epics, the ten-minute “The Camera Eye” is the anomaly amid a suite of often severe tunes with choruses and middle-eights. Taking seriously the notions of progress espoused by their lyrics, Rush must have noticed these bright, shiny tunes on the FM dial mostly recorded by younger men whose brevity matched their hair length.

And rhythms too! Not quite mystic ones, but Rush’s instrumental chops and charming, gawky futurism produced a supple incorporation of dub and reggae. Someone in the Rush dressing room must have loved the Police who were, at the time, three albums into a career that would turn them into the world’s biggest band and most fractious trio. To absorb Black rhythms through the filter of another white trio works as insurance: It’s less fraught to get blamed for borrowing from people who look like you. Rush experimented with a slight skank on Permanent Waves’ “The Spirit of Radio,” which might explain why it became an actual hit in reggae-drenched England than in an America that went through the trouble of keeping Black disco-tinged acts off the air. With Lifeson playing up- and downstrokes, Moving Pictures’ “Vital Signs” shows the most obvious signs of Police work, but the sequencer may bear the influence of Peart’s beloved Ultravox. After all, to quote him, “Everybody got to deviate/From the norm.”

To write a manifesto is folly; songs become manifestos. Such is the case with “Tom Sawyer.” Rush’s signature song embraces technology without succumbing to its dazzle. 1981’s version of Mark Twain’s 19th-century warrior with a mean, mean stride does many things that make sense only in Peart and co-lyricist Pye DuBois’ notebook, but the enthusiasm of Lifeson’s guitar fills and Peart’s nervous triplets are matched by Lee’s Oberheim-OBX solo. The simultaneous lateral and forward motion of their music matched the positivity of the lyrics. As proof they were regular dudes who like the cars that go vroom, Rush offered “Red Barchetta,” an ode to the Italian roadster that idles and revs like one; Lifeson goes from pinched intro to an interlude that cracks the song in half.

As Rush matured into their Moving Pictures era, their instrumental flourishes matched their newfound plainspokeness. An inspiration for bucketloads of maudlin crap, the touring life didn’t affect a muse that had shown to this point little interest in the larger world. “Limelight” presents no complaints—advice not wisdom, remarks not pronouncements. Bands who envy Rush’s gilded cage “must get on with the fascination/The real relation, the underlying theme.” Before anyone can say, “Speak for yourselves, dorks,” the trio builds toward a break less impressive for how Lifeson outdoes David Gilmour in guitar dive-bombing than in Lee’s bass licks. That’s why they’re Rush and you’re not.

And sometimes words are crap. After Hemispheres’ rather ponderous “La Villa Strangiato,” Rush present “YYZ,” an instrumental ready for new wave on which Lifeson and Lee circle each other, back off, and let Peart offer a series of rolls that are the stuff of which fanzines are made.

Thanks to its tautness, conceptual integrity, and the fortuitous manner in which their career ambitions and radio programmer taste intersected, Moving Pictures functioned as much a harbinger of a new artistic era as David Bowie’s Young Americans. It peaked at No. 3 in America, their best chart position to date; the RIAA would certify it five-times platinum. “Tom Sawyer” brushed against the Top 40 gates without gaining entry. Best, Rush was constitutionally incapable of cynicism. “Alienation is the craze,” sang the Cars two years earlier, sounding neither crazy nor alienated but arch; “Put aside the alienation,” Neil Peart countered on “Limelight.” Optimism without sentimentality? In this biz? For a couple of hours, this Moving Pictures package envisages a world of love and light.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Rush - Moving Pictures (40th Anniversary) Music Album Reviews Rush - Moving Pictures (40th Anniversary) Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Saturday, April 23, 2022 Rating: 5

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