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Rush - Moving Pictures CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.39 | 2935 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars An excellent refinement and polishing of the approach taken on Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures is a strong candidate for the best album Rush ever made. Rush had begun to incorporate an increasing amount of synthesisers into their music on the preceding album, and this tendency continues this time around. The sole extended track on the album, the ten minute The Camera Eye, makes good use of this by having Geddy Lee primarily play synthesisers for the first part of the song, which is about the ambience of New York, and then switch to bass for the second half, which concerns the ambience of London; just as the modernity of New York and the history of London are contrasted in the song, so too are the future direction of Rush and their recent musical history brilliantly contrasted in the piece.

In terms of structure, the first side consists of catchy and accessible numbers which showcase the band's hard rock and metal chops whilst continuing their project of condensing progressive rock song structures into short, bite-sized chunks. This is perfectly captured on what I consider to be their best song, the haunting Red Barchetta, whose movements capture nostalgia, exhilaration, action, and escapism in an emotional trip that perfectly parallels the narrative of the song; the opening chords of the piece never fail to make hairs rise on the back of my neck. The side also includes YYZ, an instrumental in the tradition of the excellent La Villa Strangiato - the best track from Hemispheres by a long way - which again condenses the sorts of twists and turns and technical musicianship found into the earlier piece into a shorter and very accessible format.

The second side of the song is devoted to more experimental and murkier material, and has taken a while to grow on me - but grow on me it has. As well as the aforementioned The Camera Eye, it includes the spooky Witch Hunt - a rare Rush excursion into horror - and Vital Signs, in which Rush's increasing New Wave influences are manifested in a very Police-like incorporation of reggae rhythms into the song (though I have to say I think Rush succeed rather better than the Police did).

On the whole, this is an album where Rush hit a perfect balance between progging out and rocking out, in which experimentation and accessibility and cool synthesiser pieces and heavy guitar solos all work in perfect harmony. In other words, it attains the balance which Hemispheres spoke of but didn't actually attain itself, and in that sense it can be seen as the culmination all the work Rush had done up to that point. The band would take a radical new direction with their next album, but their early progressive metal period ended on the best possible note.

Warthur | 5/5 |


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