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Rush - Permanent Waves CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.27 | 2188 ratings

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5 stars Utterly perfect. Though I will have to insert some twisted logic here: they would get even "more perfect" on 'Moving Pictures'. But for now, as of 1980, Rush were attaining a peak that produced the marvelous 'Permanent Waves', a marvel in every way: production, songwriting, performance.

The flow of the album is due to its compactness, both in terms of each song's ingredients (unlike the title song on 'Hemispheres', there is NOTHING unncessary here) and also its overall length (proving that shorter albums provide more impact). And with the bristling production job by Terry Brown and the band, the album's crystalline, earthy, crisp recording brings out the best in the band's gear and, of course, their always-increasing abilities.

The album seems to offer 3 pairs or kinds of tracks:

"Jacob's Ladder" and "Natural Science" are the prog epics. "Jacob's Ladder" is patient and slowly-building with a foggy, dark tone, while "Natural Science" flows from part to part in an exciting, ultra-dynamic ride. Some seriously demented metallic riffs appear, showing where Voivod might have taken some influence when they wrote 'Dimension Hatross'.

"The Spirit Of Radio" and "Freewill" are more compact, FM-friendly rock songs, yet still with an abundance of chops, impressive playing and superb songwriting. Geddy's voice is starting to lower in range, slightly, and it's this era (along with 'Moving Pictures') that I feel represents his finest vocal performances. That these are two of the band's most popular radio songs displays the beauty of Rush: this music is substantial and profound, played by gifted artists, yet it STILL works on mainstream radio. Go figure.

"Entre Nous" and "Different Strings" are not only an obvious pair, they're also next to each other in the running order, sandwiched between the epics, giving the album a good bit of depth. Both could be considered ballads, but as ballads go, they carry a lot more depth and believability than previous attempts ("Madrigal" and one I even like a lot, "Tears").

So, did I mention this is a PERFECT album? Chalk it up: this is Rush's SEVENTH in a string of NINE absolutely awe-inspiring albums.

slipperman | 5/5 |


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