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Rush - Power Windows CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.54 | 940 ratings

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3 stars A lean winter wolf of an album, sinuous and cunning. "Power Windows" recaptures much of "Signals"' energy, best exemplified on "The Big Money", so in my mind it's always had a slight advantage over the bloodless "Grace Under Pressure". It's not a complete return to form, but it is a better balance between old and new. The rhythm section of GEDDY LEE and NEIL PEART is superlative in every since of the word, while the subject matter is classic RUSH: preserving the personal in an impersonal system bent on domination and destruction. However, it's clear that the synthesizers and ALEX LIFESON's shimmering guitar style are here to stay. I miss the saturated sound of vintage RUSH, the unbridled enthusiasm of their arrangements, the idealism of their vision, but those days passed with the '70s. The new RUSH -- clinical, cynical, mechanical -- is the byproduct of musical evolution. We shouldn't equate familiar with attractive, especially when the change in appearance enabled the band to remain vital without sacrificing integrity. (I can't think of any prog band that's aged as well as RUSH over the years.) "Power Windows"' failure is a weary familiarity from song to song, a brittle inflexibility that ironically costs the music its own individuality. "The Big Money" is handily the album's money shot; the fact that the thoughtful "Mystic Rhythms" was tested as the second single testifies to a lack of viable alternatives. Over time, the songs will assert their own personalities, but for the effort you could have already warmed up to "Signals" or Hold Your Fire.

If you're bent on buying every RUSH album (and I'd actually recommend it), you'll look into "Power Windows" yourself eventually. Because the album can sound awfully dry on vinyl, spend a few extra bucks and go for the compact disc.

daveconn | 3/5 |


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