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Rush - Permanent Waves CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.28 | 2123 ratings

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Mr. Mustard
5 stars Permanent Waves marks the beginning of a shift from the bombastic epic music of the past into a more concentrated, if simpler, sound. That isn't to say all the great prog that graced their past albums isn't here. The album contains some of Rush's most complex and progressive songs, but still manages to be more focused in the songwriting department.

'The Spirit of Radio' and 'Freewill' are both up-tempo rockers which received considerable airplay. The former sees the band playing with some reggae sounds, while the latter has some phenomenal time signature changes throughout.

'Jacob's Ladder' shows that the band wasn't about to put away the prog that adorned their past few records. There are a plethora of time signature changes throughout, and the song is even more rhythmically complex. It opens with an almost "marching" riff in 4/4 which leads to an instrumental section which alternates between 5/4 and 6/4. The band stops the complex insanity for a short atmospheric keyboard interlude. The remainder contains more time signature changes, and Neil's drumming gives a rather interesting rhythmic feel.

'Entre Nous' didn't have the same commercial success as the first two songs, which is interesting as I consider it almost as strong. There's nothing really noteworthy in its structure or complexity, it's just a plain good Rush song.

'Different Strings' is a quieter, down-tempo tune that features some great guitar work from Alex along with some rare piano as well.

'Natural Science' is probably the highlight of the album. This multi-parted song features some of the band's most instrumentally intricate moments. The song opens with a rather calm section that sets the image and mood of the lyrics. The second part is based on a cool riff in 7/8. The third section hits you suddenly with its riff driven melody. . Neil Peart comes up with some truly amazing dynamic drum parts throughout, making this pretty rhythmically challenging.

Overall, Permanent Waves is a good mix of accessible songs and prog, and clearly shows the direction they're headed in. Like, Hemispheres, the album doesn't have any true flaws, making this a consistent listen from beginning to end.


Mr. Mustard | 5/5 |


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