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Rush - Presto CD (album) cover

PRESTO

Rush

 

Heavy Prog

3.14 | 625 ratings

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Raff
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Definitely one of their best '90s albums (though it came out in '89), "Presto" is a vast improvement on the overtly commercial leanings of "Hold Your Fire". True, there are easier moments here as well, but the presence of synthetisers is thankfully less obtrusive and Alex Lifeson's guitar once again a protagonist .

The opener "Show Don't Tell" immediately sets the scene, with its jagged rythms and Alex's aggressive riffing - clearly a much more complex offering than the catchier, chorus-orientated songs on HYF. "Chain Lighting" rocks harder and faster than most of the band's '80s production after "Moving Pictures"; while the slower, deceptively melodic "The Pass" deals in style with the thorny topic of suicide, as if introducing the darker subject matter of the album's follow-up, "Roll the Bones". Though not all the tracks are as good as these three, there are other gems to be found on this album, such as the ethnic-tinged, strongly percussive "Scars", the partly acoustic title-track and the brisk, dynamic "Red Tide". Even the weaker tracks, though, never reach the really low standards of some of the songs on "Test for Echo".

While it's true that Rush have never gone back to the longer compositions of their '70s glory days, there is a lot of merit in being able to write shorter yet interesting songs which are intelligent and progressive in their own way. "Presto" is obviously bound to be a disappointment to those who would have wanted the band to churn out clones of "2112" and "Hemispheres" until the end of their career (which has not yet come about, thank goodness!); though more open-minded listeners will appreciate its many strengths, not least the steady growth of Geddy Lee's vocal skills: no longer a Robert Plant clone (as he's often been unkindly labelled), but an articulate, expressive singer, the best possible vehicle for Neil Peart's lyrics. An excellent album, one I would recommend to all but, perhaps, the "absolute beginners". A solid 3.50 stars, this time rounded up to 4.

Raff | 3/5 |

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