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Rush - Permanent Waves CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.28 | 2123 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Begin the decade with a friendly voice

A new decade arrives and Rush have a hit single! The band obviously only had one thing on their mind when they recorded "The spirit of radio", the commercial nature of the track instantly securing the radio play it was so clearly designed for. We should not be too hard on Rush though, this is not a sell out song. Geddy Lee's vocals and Alex Lifeson's guitar work still stamp the badge of authenticity on the product.

The change of style is however clear with the following "Freewill" also being instantly accessible, with a strong hook and melodic vocals. The chiming guitars are reminiscent of ELO's "10538 overture" the song itself being orthodox pop rock. "Jacob's ladder" is not the traditional song of that name, but it is the slowest and heaviest song on the album. The track builds like a bolero with vocals and drifting synth sounds adding to the overall power of the song. This is undoubtedly one of Rush's most accomplished and finest pieces.

The second side of the album has a similar layout to the first, with two short, commercially orientated songs, and a longer more structured track. "Entre nous" leans heavily on the synthesiser backing, but the song itself is rather dull, lacking any real spark. The ballad "Different strings" which follows is surprisingly downbeat and sparse, with sensitive lyrics. It is not particularly original, sounding a bit like the obligatory ballad which many bands include on an album, but it is pleasant nonetheless.

The closing "Natural science" is the longest track on the album at 9 minutes. The opening section continues the soft acoustic mood of the preceding track, but the volume quickly rises as the band present an altogether more traditional sounding Rush epic.

With a total running time of 35 minutes, "Permanent waves" is somewhat miserly on content. The four shorter radio friendly songs signal that the band is moving away from its more progressive past, but the two feature tracks offer a fine olive branch to those who crave for more of the same.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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