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Rush - Fly By Night CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.36 | 1183 ratings

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3 stars Rush's second album is definitely a better album to their first, I'll give it that. The introduction of Neil Peart into the band immediately gave the band a sound much more indicative of Rush, even if the majority of this was still more along the lines of standard hard rock, rather than the proggier stuff that was soon to come. While still quite flawed in some respects, I definitely love how this is the album that establishes Rush's sound very effectively.

The main difference I find with this album is the much tighter playing that each member of the band displays, along with a strong sense of unity accentuated by the meticulous nature of the compositions, with each instrument playing off each other amazingly, sometimes truly perfectly. Anthem is a great example of this, being a fast song already showing off just how talented Neil Peart is, balanced by an excellent bassline. The more energetic, over the top singing of Geddy Lee works far better on this album as a whole, both due to the music fitting it much better, and especially due to what feels like a clearly improvement of his vocal skills in general, as it contains much less of the abrasive quality than what could be found on the debut album. I also commend how uplifting Rush tends to be in general, but especially with songs such as this, which are on the more energetic side of things, which is part of the reason why I find many of their commerical songs just as good, if not better than some of their proggier output. Best I Can is another fast paced, fun track with a particularly catchy chorus, and is definitely one of the better moments on the album. At points, it definitely still feels clear that the band were still finding their feet, which is most clear in their first attempt at a prog song, By-Tor and the Snow Dog. While elements of this song work well, such as the unconventional soloing by Alex Lifeson and the dynamic instrumental break being a big step up from anything Rush had done beforehand or even on their next album, Caress of Steel. Unfortunately, this is brought down immensely by the pointless middle section that's simply nothing more than a quiet section filled with pointless sound effects and is quite boring. This awful section turns what could have been an absolute classic into a very mixed bag, and is definitely a case of the live versions being considerably better.

More issues arise in the second half of the album, with 3 of the 4 songs either doiing nothing for me, or being downright bad in my opinion. The exception of these tracks is the title track, another concise rock track that carries immense power while also being extremely pleasant and enjoyable in essentially every way, with such an optimistic tone to it. Unfortunately, the remaining songs on the album generally pale in comparison to the rest, especially the next two. Making Memories features a simplistic, repetitive acoustic melody that while initially sounds quite interesting, it never develops past this point, leaving it stagnant. Rivendell has this same issue but ten times worse, as the basic melody reveals nothing interesting, and it is then extended to 5 minutes, which by the end feels painful, just 5 minutes of pure saccharine drivel without much to salvage it. In The End does no favours for itself with the quiet intro, which definitely sounds better when not preceded by Rivendell, but the rest of the song is definitely better, although not really anything amazing.

Overall, while the album is flawed, there are some excellent tracks to be found here, and the growing ambition the band had undertaken here was definitely a step in the right direction. That said, the bad moments on this album tend to be pretty damn bad, especially the 2 song stretch of Making Memories and Rivendell, which singlehandedly make listening to this album far more difficult than it had a right to be, considering it also contains Anthem and Fly By Night. While this isn't where I'd start off with Rush's discography, it's undoubtedly my favourite of Rush's first 3 albums, before they finally broke out and let their ambitions run wild. I'd recommend just cherry picking the best tracks off this, even if you're quite int hard rock, as this album is quite uneven, albeit great at times.

Best songs: Anthem, Best I can, Fly By Night

Weakest songs: Making Memories, Rivendell

Verdict: Despite the clear improvements in all areas that this album shows over its weak predecessor, this album still has a large issue with consistency. The good tracks are absolutely great, but it balances out with some utter garbage. That said, I'd definitely say that a fair bit of this album is good, even if it's ill conceived at times.

Kempokid | 3/5 |


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