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Rush - Presto CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.16 | 785 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars A kind of return to form, but not a return to Prog of any kind

The quality of Rush's output declined steadily (and substantially!) in the mid 80's, and though the band never again made anything to match the albums from their classic era (2112 to Moving Pictures), Presto was, in my opinion, the best Rush album since Moving Pictures. In many ways, Presto constituted a return to form as well as a return to Rock (as opposed to the New Wave and Synth Pop that crept in on the band's previous four studio albums). The trademark lead guitar, bass and real (as opposed to electronic) drums are back and the synthesisers are not yet abandoned (as they would be in the 90's) but rather refined. In addition, a wider array of keyboard instruments are used on Presto including grand piano and some symphonic sweeping synths (played by two guest musicians). Also, more acoustic guitars than before are present. Overall, a more loaded and complete sound than on previous albums is created. Presto somehow combines the best elements from the band's other 80's albums (but avoids most of their weaknesses), with the rockier elements of the 90's releases and the best material of post-Moving Pictures Rush. The only track I don't like on Presto is the tedious Superconductor.

Another aspect worthy of a special note is that although the band reached their peak in the late 70's, one aspect of their sound had continued to improve; namely, Geddy Lee's vocals. Lee was never much of a vocalist, but listen to the album closer Available Light and it becomes obvious how much he has improved from the band's early days.

It should be pointed out, however, that even if a return to form this album by no means constituted a return to Prog. As I pointed out in my review of the previous Hold Your Fire album, Rush's Prog-phase was long since over at this point in time and they have never since showed any interest at all in trying to revive it in any shape or form (apart from in concert, material from the classic albums is still performed live by the band).

Presto is a good Rock album and certainly one of the best of post-Moving Pictures Rush. If you gave up on the band after their classic era, Presto is a good place to rekindle the flame. Sadly, the next couple of albums by the band would be among their weakest ever.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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