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Rush - Permanent Waves CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.28 | 2123 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A couple of things are clear about the Rush that recorded "Permanent Waves". One, that the trio is less interested in epic themes, while keeping and even reaffirming a noticeable epic attitude instrumentally (more Oberheim stuff comes to the synthesizer fold). The other, that the threesome are beginning to partially flirt with the AOR format, while still maintaining a penchant for complex rhythm patterns and clever tempo shifts. Gone are the sci-fi splendorous tales, but in turn, the revealing dreams of a prophet ('Jacob's Ladder') and the critical views about the system as a vehicle if oppression against the individual ('Natural Science') become the conceptual vehicles for Peart's lucid concerns and cerebral poetry. This serious stuff is perfectly complemented by great musical ideas, which are enhanced by the musicians' tight performances - this results into both tracks being the most prominent in the album's repertoire. But the remaining tracks are nothing to be dismissed, despite the fact that they obviously are not as aesthetically rewarding for the average prog rock listener. The opener 'Spirit of Radio' is one of those classics that never leave the tracklists on every Rush tour: and no surprise about it, since it's a very catchy number, and at the same time, an effective sample of the prototypical combination of complexity and electric energy that has become a trademark of Rush. 'Free Will' and 'Entre Nous' deal with the individual's affirmation and romantic relationships on the rocks, respectively, with a more AOR-ish attitude, that's true, but never getting rampantly accessible: on the contrary, these numbers comprise that flame of inventiveness in its melodic lines and the instrumental interludes that keeps them from being mere radio friendly simple tunes. The ballad 'Different Strings' is one of the most intimately moving pieces that Rush has written during their 77-81 era, and it might as well be extended a bit longer in order to convey the melancholy proclaimed in its lyrics in a more effective manner - Lifeson's solo in the song's closing section is captivating, but it feels so short when the fade-out appears to call it quits. Fortunately, there's still the epic closure 'Natural Science', whose magnificent grandeur has been described before in this review. Overall conclusion: an excellent progressive album.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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