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Rush - Grace Under Pressure CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.69 | 1214 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars A high 3, for sure.

'Grace Under Pressure' sees Rush straddling the line between 'Signals' and the full- blown synth-dominated slickness of the records to come. For fans who felt Alex Lifeson's guitars were too subtle on 'Signals', this album moves them up in the mix and into the soundpicture significantly. (Though Alex seems to be playing more like Duran Duran's Andy Taylor than his strange old self.) Where 'Signals' had some hints of the Rush power of old, mixed with their expanding embrace of synths and cold technology, 'GUP' further streamlines the band's sound with an almost monochromatic disposition. The production is warm enough, and perhaps more rounded than 'Signals', but the material itself lacks the hunger, edge and discovery of its predecessor.

In its own right, this is a very good album. Songs like "Distant Early Warning", "Afterimage", "Red Sector A", "The Body Electric" and "Between The Wheels" are among the best of Rush's '80s output. Full of tension, and in some cases darkness, they possess a curious new spark, a totally rebuilt Rush engine from the band heard on 'Moving Pictures' only 3 years earlier. But where these songs possess the awe of Rush's still-amazing performance and writing capabilities, songs like "The Enemy Within", "Red Lenses" and "Kid Gloves" move into the passive pop that would mar many Rush albums to come. The latter two especially embrace mod/romantic/new-wave sensibilities, and though it's a true reflection of the music the band was interested in at this time, it waters down the essence of what I, and quite a few other Rush fans, consider to be this band's strong points. Toss in some reggae ("The Enemy Within") and I'm outta there.

So, this is a record that I find enjoyable only if I skip past the two offending tracks ("Red Lenses" and "Kid Gloves" are awful..."The Enemy Within" has its moments, despite being below average). 'Grace Under Pressure' was the album that set Rush on a path they would really never return from. The guitar would dominate their material again years later, and they would even drop keyboards from their arsenal on 'Vapor Trails', but I can't help but feel things were never quite the same after 'Signals'. There is a confident new Rush here, and for what it's worth, there are some bright moments of greatness shining throughout 'Grace Under Pressure'. After this, though, it gets pretty dismal...

slipperman | 3/5 |


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