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Rush - Moving Pictures CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.39 | 2936 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars RUSH grow an arm and a leg here and finally produce a seamless album of the highest quality.

They do this by discarding their unfortunate progressive excesses of the late 70s and embracing the brevity - and some of the sounds and values - of the 80s. This ought to produce a horrible shiny New Wave record, but the strictures of shorter songs actually focus RUSH's limited compositional talents and, for once, the songs work.

Straight into 'Tom Sawyer' and that memorable bass. On earlier albums they would have added an intro of bee-like synths to this song, and stretched it out to nine or twelve minutes. Not here. This track should shout loud and clear to all prog heads that prog is a child of popular music, and that good composition makes a song as long as it needs to be, not automatically twenty minutes.

'Red Barchetta' is hardly any less impressive, with a sequence of memorable riffs. Finally GEDDY LEE's voice makes sense, given the context this excellent music provides. Then his voice is gone and we roar through the shining gem of 'YYZ'. This song is the meeting place of compositional genius, virtuoso playing and 80s production values, and justifies the band's existence. Four and a half minutes of perfection, often imitated, never bettered. 'Limelight' continues the fine songwriting, an art rock song with the usual crunchy guitars but compositionally much tighter than similar tracks on previous albums. Ample room here for each member of the band to deliver powerful performances.

'The Camera Eye' starts with those dreadful buzzing-bee synths. What a pity they paid no attention to the fine synth work coming from the UK in 1980: this sound was so dated even then. The song is a mini-epic, a pastiche similar to '2112' in form, but far superior in execution. The changes in tempo remind me a little of LED ZEPPELIN's 'Carouselambra'. The final two songs are very good, but perhaps overshadowed by the company they keep on this album. Nevertheless they come into their own after a few listens. I'm personally very fond of 'Witch Hunt', finding it one of the few times RUSH raises my neck hairs.

I don't personally see this as one of the very best albums in the history of prog rock. I can think of at least fifty prog albums I prefer. Nevertheless, the value of this album lies in its release date, at a time when the critics had buried prog rock and danced about on its grave. With 'Moving Pictures' RUSH did the seemingly impossible: filled the airwaves with hard rock of the highest quality at a time when rock itself seemed to be on the way out. We all ought to be grateful that, with this album, RUSH helped keep high quality rock alive.

russellk | 5/5 |


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