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Rush - Moving Pictures CD (album) cover

MOVING PICTURES

Rush

 

Heavy Prog

4.41 | 1944 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Following in the footsteps of the predecessor "Permanent Waves", "Moving Pictures" contains a more solid and varied repertoire, as well as a more aggressive sound in the rockier moments. So what Rush delivers here is yet another prog master opus from their golden era. The opener 'Tom Sawyer' starts in a somewhat AOR-ish pompous manner (not unlike their Toronto neighbors Saga, who by then were starting to achieve some worldwide fame), mostly on a 7/8 pattern, which gives the rhythm section a chance to display a touch of funky under the song's rocky surface, while the synth parts play a starring role: somewhere in the middle, Lifeson states an amazing solo full of attitude and some effective dissonance. This catchy opening track is followed by one of the gems of this album: 'Red Barchetta' is a magical rocky number that conveys a mesmerized air of contemplation in both the lyrics and the melodic lines, with a well adjusted instrumentation that flows between the harsh and the subtle. The neckbreaking instrumental 'YYZ' couldn't be a more proper follow up, with its unmerciful fire fed by the fuel of heavy metal and the flame of jazz rock, not unlike 'La Villa Strangiato' - another showstopper in Rush's repertoire -, but with less epic proportions. From the first time I ever heard 'YYZ' I had the feeling that this was one of the most explosive instrumentals in rock history, and now, many years later, I've come to turn that initial feeling into a matured conviction. No wonder this one and 'Tom Sawyer' are the most recurrent pieces from this album in concert tracklists. The fire doesn't decree in 'Limelight', the ode that Rush sing to themselves as "performers and portrayers", caught in a limbo between the joy of giving their art to the audience and the need of keeping apart from that same audience in order to preserve their intimacy and integrity. While the lyrics reflect that dilemma with genuine concern, the music written is pure exultation designed to catch the listener's eye: what a clever way to combine reservations and interconnection in one single song. The only epic in this album is 'The Camera Eye', a 10-minute suite lyrically focused on the dialectic tension between human emotion and the structure of modern cities. The grandiosity of this number is based on the alternation of synth-dominant orchestrated sections and the sung parts, in which the rock aspect prevails in order to allow Lifeson display his tight riffs and occasional electrifying solos - together with 'YYZ' and 'Red Barchetta', here are the highlights of Lee's bass playing in this album. 'Witch Hunt' is a chilling, almost-Gothic number that exposes the dangers and potential destructiveness of intolerance: being much shorter than 'The Camera Eye', 'Witch Hunt' conveys a more pronounced epic colorfulness, so dramatic and with such an amount of intensity, that all you have left to do is drown yourself into the doom of the oppressed and ignored, underthe ultra-somber synth layers that are poured all over the guitar riffs. Awesome! It almost makes you forget the powerful excitement of the previous tracks: by now you are simply overwhelmed by the darkest of human scenarios. 'Vital Signs' ends the album with the poppiest attitude in this album, anticipating what would be to come in their next two studio efforts ("Signals" and "Grace Under Pressure" - something like The Police meets Saga): Lee's voice reminds us that sometimes "everybody has to deviate from the norm". In this track, Rush retakes the energy of 'Tom Sawyer' and draws it closer to average early 80s new wave. That's a nice way to end an album after such an oppressive number as 'Witch Hunt'.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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