Review Summary: Approaching the unreal, for those who think and feel.
If Moving Pictures
is to be Rush's legacy, then so be it. Considering the coffee-smashing Canadian trio and their streak, from the progressives put out in A Farewell to Kings
and the hard rock in Fly by Night
, it wasn't surprising they'd make another great release. With their balance of quirk and their ears for sound, taking elements from progressive classics and mending it into their own style; but it's easy to say the three didn't expect something this big. Whatever attention they had gained before, Moving Pictures
rose them to superstar status; the album is seven tracks and typically short, and it's well worth the short time it takes.
What had come to make Rush unique, sound-wise, was their use of hard rock structures, shifting time signatures, and the classic prog instrumentation: the wide range of electronics reminiscent to Yes
, the guitars and drums familiar to Pink Floyd
(if they had been on downers in recording Dark Side) - and fusing all of these aspects together and do so with flair and a driving rock. It's safe to say they went off the edge of the map sometimes, but who didn't in prog rock? This was the era of moustached wags, when concerts introduced LSD instead of hard alcohol. The album itself starts with a more well-known track, Tom Sawyer
, and you're treated to a variety of sounds and styles. The ever-excellent guitars of Alex Lifeson lead the way for the most part, but the material on the other, less-used instruments; the taurus, piano, organ, and the synths all are used well and to the best of the trio's ability.
Basically, Rush is taking up the style of rock they used in Permanent Waves
, arugably more radio-friendly, but somehow settling it on a totally different scale. Every track just feels different, in performance and style. "YYZ" is an instrumental highlight, featuring a bouncing scale that changes every time; the swift percussion from Peart's numerous drumming instruments and the hard guitars, coupled with one of Geddy's finest bass performances and several time signature shifts. "Red Barchetta" (not ripping off A Nice Morning Drive) is a catchy track in the style of 2112: it makes up a rule where vehicles are banned by something called "The Motor Law", but an old man usually takes a crumpled old car for a spin. It's a creative story, one that proves Rush hasn't gotten old in their attempts to make up songs. "Limelight
" is one of Peart's great performances (in particular), discussing the idea of becoming too popular in the 'limelight'; which gradually grows into the surprisingly good "Camera Eye
"; which is possibly the album's best track. It's a long track, about eleven minutes, and it presents everything appealing about Rush's music and puts it in this mini-epic; the rock, the prog, and the pathos. It's one of their most complete tracks to date.
It's not entirely perfect, though, not all of the tracks are as corking as the ones mentioned; the first half is definitely better than the second. "Vital Signs"
is average at best, which features a dual-combination of reggae style and spiced up with electronics and synths, and sometimes "Witch Hunt
" gets annoying.
BUT ITS ***IN AWESOME.