Rush has been a name synonymous with several things. Among those things are silliness, high-pitched vocals, complex instrumentals and musicianship, out-of-this-world lyrics, and most of all, progressive rock. But what a lot of people don't know is that before Rush had Neil Peart or prog-ness, they were just another blues rock band that would've been forgotten...
Enter Rush's self-titled debut. With lyrics about rockin', ***in', and workin', the band's first effort could've easily been released by any other band at the time that was trying to recreate what bands like Led Zeppelin and The Who were already doing, but of all the British-rock copycats, Rush's earliest album is certainly among the best and most memorable.
But the thing is, the whole thing isn't really that memorable at all. Songs like "Finding My Way" are very good rock n' roll tunes, and throughout the whole thing, there's not a bad song; it's all solid rock music doing its best to be like Cream. But the songs tend to run together and begin to sound the same and dated (even for its time) very quickly.
Despite this, from their debut, we can tell that the band certainly has potential. After all, Led Zeppelin and Cream's debuts were basically rip-off albums as well, classics they may be, and look at the lofty heights those bands achieved. Rush was very much the same. Much like comparing Physical Graffiti
to Led Zeppelin I
, comparing later Rush releases like Grace Under Pressure
and Hemispheres[/i] to the three-piece's debut is like comparing apples to tacos. But even at this point, the band displays far more talent than a band like Bad Company or Foreigner, with soaringly high-pitched vocals which sound like Robert Plant's finest orgasms, and mesmerizingly good musicianship, with Geddy Lee's bass providing a solid foundation for the music, and Alex Lifeson sounding like a Canadian Tony Iommi on most of the tracks, and the late and underrated John Rutsey playing drums far more adequately than many other drummers at the time. His beats are simple but they compliment the laid-back style of the music, but the man is still no Peart.
The most famous song is the album's closer, "Working Man", which is one of the band's most famous songs, and is also one of the band's very best. Running seven minutes in length, it could easily be mistaken for a Sabbath leftover where Ozzy inhaled an assload of helium, and while that analogy might be poor, the song delivers a ***ing punch. It's a gritty, dirty song which truly does make me want to, well, WORK. Perfect song for offices or construction yards. Plus, the guitar solo shows that Lee and Lifeson are, even at this point in their career, among the best musicians out there.
Rush's debut is definitely a fun rock album, but nothing more. The whole album is consistently good, and if you aren't into Rush's synthy or proggy stuff, chances are you'd like this record best. But for fans like me, the Canadian kings have so much more to offer, but overall, this record's pretty adequate, and it beats most of the other generic rock of the time.