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Rush - Moving Pictures CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.39 | 2933 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Some bands are both lucky and talented enough to release a signature album, a piece of work that not only accords them maestro status, but also sets the benchmark in their field.

I am sure many people on the site would accord 2112, A Farewell To Kings, or Hemispheres with that description, but not to these ears. To me, Moving Pictures is the archetypal Rush album, the body of work which stands apart from all else, and also set the benchmark for what we now call Heavy Prog.

There is not one weak moment on this. Tom Sawyer was a great opening track, successful single (a form of art they were becoming very accomplished at writing and performing), and set the scene for all that followed. All tracks, barring The Camera Eye, are of a similar length, but what a great deal they pack into those tracks.

Red Barchetta tells a moving story about an old uncle's Capri, and this is where I think Peart had, by now, moved on leaps and bounds as a lyricist. He was capable of telling exceptional and moving stories that were rooted in real life, rather than the fantasy world.

And it rocks, by which I mean really rocks. YYZ could possibly be the finest instrumental rock track of all time. The riffs, drum work, lead are all phenomenal, and the moment when it all leads up to THAT synth break is one of those hair standing up at the back of the neck moments.

The album contains also the most astute observation of being a rock or other celebrity superstar ever committed to record in Limelight. It also helps that it is a fine piece of commercial heavy rock, still played endlessly, deservedly, by radio stations the world over. I doubt that Geddy Lee ever sounded so good or committed, and the band as a whole simply synch together in such a way that you really did wonder at the time whether it could ever get any better than this. Four and a half minutes of pure commercial heavy prog delight.

Camera Eye is about the only nod to the epic past, certainly in terms of length, that the band both indulged themselves and us as fans in. They would never issue a track this length again in the studio. It does, however, provide a very strong hint as to the immediate direction the band would take with the heavy emphasis on synths in the opening, delicate, and patient passage. As the track develops, it really is classic Rush in the method of fine, heavy riffs, but also sounding a hell of a lot tighter than they ever did before. It is a very dark track, both lyrically and in the feel of the music itself, with its commentary on societal inequalities. If anything, however, Geddy's vocal performance is even more stunning than on Limelight. It's really a pity that eleven minute singles weren't allowed, because this track really cries out to be heard by a wider audience than traditional Rush fans.

Darker still, however, is Witch Hunt, part three of the Fear sequence, and is just short of five minutes worth of very clever observations about our dark and fearful religious past, full of lilting synths and an incredible drumming performance by Peart.

The album closes with Vital Signs, another synth and simple riff heavy track. It is probably the closest this fine album comes to filler, but great filler it is.

The closest analogy I can give for this album is AC/DC's Back In Black. When they release a new album, hordes of magazine reviewers give praise and inform the waiting public that this is "the best they have done since...." Well, Moving Pictures is this band's Back In Black, and, to be honest, such comparisons are unfair and unhelpful. This is an album which towers above many other works, including by this great band, and whilst they would go on to release some further magnificent music, this is the album which truly defines both them and the music they produce.

Five stars without hesitation. A true masterpiece.

lazland | 5/5 |


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