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Rush - Moving Pictures CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.39 | 2950 ratings

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4 stars The commercial and critical apex of Rush's four-decade career, the 1980 album 'Moving Pictures' would find the Canadian outfit glazing their metallic prog bombast with a slick, pop-tinged, radio-friendly sheen. The album, which sold over three million units during it's first year of release, pulled off the very difficult trick of appealing to a younger, more- mainstream audience whilst simultaneously retaining the group's long-term fans, and in the process of doing so inadvertently became one of the last truly notable progressive rock albums from the 1970s. Essentially 'Moving Pictures' was an album cunningly split into two distinct sections. The first half features the shorter, more emotive numbers such as the popular single 'Tom Sawyer', the upbeat - and slightly jazzy - instrumental piece 'YYZ', and the fan-favourite 'Limelight', an impressive track that borders on Journey-style soft-rock. Side two on the other hand saw the trio of Geddy Lee(bass, vocals, keyboards), Alex Lifeson(guitar) and Neil Peart(drums) summoning up the spirit of their classic, fantasy-inspired, mid-seventies sound on the ten-minute mini-epic 'The Camera Eye', which saw them adding glitzy new synthesizers to the mix, before finishing off the album on a slightly maudlin tone with the ethereal closer 'Vital Signs'. Understandably then, both sides of 'Moving Pictures' prove immensely satisfying, catering as it does for both sides of the musical coin, the catchy, simplistic pop-rock ingredients inserted into the ambitious progressive frameworks with impressive skill, and the album as a whole flows effortlessly. Rush's career trajectory has been a slightly unusual one in that they started out playing fairly straight power-trio blues-rock before morphing gradually into a hard-rockin' yet highly progressive group inspired by the likes of Pink Floyd and Yes. Rather perversely, the genre of progressive rock was actually on the wane at that time yet somehow they proved immune to both punk and new wave and instead of losing focus they produced some of their best works. 'Moving Pictures' is very much Rush at their apex, yet it is also the last truly great Rush album. Follow-up releases 'Signals', 'Grace Under Pressure' and 'Power Windows' would see the increased use of synthesizers and keyboards, all the while eroding the potent hard- rock edge that gave the group their vitality. Despite still going strong as of 2011, Rush would never again reach the lofty heights of the period that began with '2112' and ended with this consumate progressive album, though they would continue to be one of the world's premier live attractions. If you haven't yet explored the Rush discography then there is probably no better place to start than 'Moving Pictures', a slick, powerful and highly-inventive slice of commercially- tinged progressive power rock. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2011
stefro | 4/5 |


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