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Rush - Permanent Waves CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.28 | 2123 ratings

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4 stars Rush have a lot of fans outside of Canada who sing their praises and are highly regarded in the 'prog' community, but to your average Canadian they are just another rock band who gets played on the radio all the time. "The Spirit Of Radio" and "Freewill" are two songs which get played to death on Canadian radio (the country and dance stations are probably required by law to play these songs). Not only on the radio but you hear these songs at hockey games as well. You can't shake a stick in Canada without hitting some electric device playing one of those two songs. "Closer To The Heart" and "Limelight" are the only other songs that get as overplayed. (For what it's worth, you hear "Subdivisions" and "Time Stand Still" a lot too).

The trio were starting to move away from both the extended song format as well as the more science-fiction oriented lyrics of previous albums. Their music was now more accessible and contained more contemporary influences. The record buying public responded by making Permanent Waves a huge chart success. It went to #4 in the US and #3 in the UK (#1 in Canada). Rush were now officially Canadian's Favourite Canadian Band, a title previously held by The Guess Who and later to be taken by The Tragically Hip. They are still using analog synths instead of the digital ones they will use in a few years. The proggy moments are still there but now there is more room made for shorter, more 'song' oriented tracks.

"The Spirit Of Radio" was named after the slogan of the Toronto radio station CFNY. The lyrics mention the Concert Hall in Toronto. That section of lyrics is a parady of some of the lyrics from Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sound Of Silence." Here you hear the beginning of the trio's New Wave and reggae influences, while the main riff shows their hard rock roots. I love Lifeson's guitar tones during this period. Nice piano at the end (if you blink your ears you will miss it). "Freewill" contains one of my favourite of Peart's lyrics: "if you choose not to decide you still have made a choice." The best part of the song of course is the dual bass and guitar solos.

"Jacob's Ladder" is the proggiest track up to this point; you can tell this is the same group that made Hemispheres (along with Geddy's vocals obviously). Love the subdued but effective keyboards. Always loved the build-up after the drumless section which features some of Peart's best playing on the album. "Entre Nous" is a more accessible and upbeat song that forshadows what Rush will sound like in the 1980s. Features a very simple but effective synth solo. "Different Strings" in places reminds me of another Canadian trio, Triumph. Another accessible song and my least favourite on the album. Always liked the blues-rock vibe they go into at the end; it fades out too quickly as Lifeson is just about to 'take off'.

"Natural Science" is the best track and another proggy mofo. Nice use of natural(get it?) sounds. Features Lifeson's best playing on the album. Love that abrupt change into a harder rocking section after 2 never see it coming. Love the vocal effects but at one point there is some synth sounds that are annoying, especially on earbuds/headphones. They would only get bigger after this but also less 'proggy'. The two albums that bookend this one are my two fav Rush albums, but this is one I rarely play (mainly because I can hear the first two songs any time I turn on a radio). Overall this is a very good album but they have better albums. I'll give this a 3.5 and round it up to 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |


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