Rush
Presto


3.0
good

Review

by sonictheplumber STAFF USER (107 Reviews)
July 18th, 2012 | 36 replies


Release Date: 1989 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An album with some great songs that could've been a lot better with different production and some tweaking.

If you were still a loyal Rush fan in the late 1980s, you knew that the only thing you could expect from Rush was the unexpected. Since 1974, the band had been dabbling in many different styles of music, and with each new album one was never sure which direction Rush were going to take their music in. After releasing four albums dominated by synthesizers, the band made an agreement with each other that they would cut down the use of synths on this album and return to a more "rocking" style. The result is 1989's Presto.

Presto is an odd one in Rush's catalogue. The most noticeable change is the production. Rush had had stellar production on all of their 80's albums up to this point. This album sounds significantly less "rocking" than the band had likely attended. It sounds like an average 80's rock band, except with slightly worse production. These are songs that could've rocked much harder, but the production makes the music quite thin and lacking-balls. Geddy's bass, which is undoubtedly a strength for the band for even nonfans, is oddly mixed somewhat in the background. This was likely done to give Alex a chance to shine a bit more on this album since fans had been complaining that he lacked a significant presence in the band on the previous couple of albums. Despite this great effort, Alex himself even comes out sounding weaker for some reason. His guitar was heavier even on previous efforts like "Big Money" and "Lock and Key." Even Neil sounds a bit weaker on this album, and it has nothing to do with his actual drumming. The band is as talented as ever with no noticeable slouching coming from any member, but the production makes it all sound much softer than it should've been.

As for the songs themselves, there are hits and misses. Presto is a transition album in the band's catalogue, and in typical Rush fashion, the transition album is always a bit weaker and half-baked than the album where the sound is typically perfected. Caress of Steel led to 2112, Permanent Waves led to Moving Pictures, and so on. This album is where Rush get the idea of rocking again, and that sound that they aimed for on this album would be perfected on 1993's Counterparts.

The opener, "Show Don't Tell," is more-or-less a Rush classic at this point - the main riff is easily the heaviest thing the band had done since Moving Pictures. The band sounds in top form, and would have sounded even better if not for the production (which is basically the case for all of the songs, minus the "sounding in top form" part because of some weaker tracks). "The Pass" is the best and most moving number on the album, its lyrics dealing with teen suicide (before Pearl Jam made it something cute and hip). The song has a hypnotic effect that only a band with the chemistry of Rush could create, and it remains a live staple to this day. It serves as further proof that Rush is a band capable of writing great songs, and not just sprawling epics about science fiction. The title track is another winner, sounding more like a catchy pop rock song than I'm sure the group intended. Nevertheless, it's one of the funnest songs on the album. "Superconductor" is another personal favorite, and while it is one of Rush's most maligned songs, it's really a clever and catchy song. It's catchy enough to be a hit, it's fast-paced, it has a sing-a-long chorus in which Neil or Alex imitates a black man, and the lyrics work on two levels - they can be seen as poking fun at the music industry, with artists being more concerned with image to attract a large audience, or the song can be seen as poking fun at male and female relationships. Men will package themselves "as a rebel or a hero," instead of being true to themselves, so they can attract a mate. The other songs range from good to mediocre to weak. There is still a keyboard/synth presence on the album which simple does not fit, and this is the fatal flaw with already-boring tracks like "Scars."

Presto is the band's weakest effort up to this point, and it marks the first time Rush failed at what they set out to do. They wanted to create a straightforward rock album, but because of bad production and unfitting synthesizers (combined with some plain weak songs), the album is like a failed experiment. That being said, it still has some great songs on it, but it's not up to Rush's standards at all.



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user ratings (486)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
menawati CONTRIBUTOR (3)
Rush were expected to really pull something out of the hat for this so called back-to-basics release...

Joe Shadduck (4.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
July 18th 2012


21104 Comments


Good review sonic, pos'd.

KILL
July 18th 2012


71981 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

omfg yes at last been waitin so long omg

Digging: Exodus - Blood In, Blood Out

KILL
July 18th 2012


71981 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

and yea the production is thin as fuck but it still thrashes

Apollo
July 18th 2012


10340 Comments


The first review you have posted that I gave a POS

well done

KILL
July 18th 2012


71981 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

apollo is just a serious queef ignore him

Apollo
July 18th 2012


10340 Comments


KILL when you learn to type like an adult I will respond to you

Sonic - Usually I see the silly reviews, this one shows to me that you truly can write. I'd like to see more reviews like this dude

omnipanzer
July 18th 2012


21626 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review Sonic, rating is correct... which I honestly wasn't expecting from you. ;^)

Have a magical POS sir.

Digging: We Were Promised Jetpacks - Unravelling

omnipanzer
July 18th 2012


21626 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"apollo is just a serious queef ignore him"
At least he's being honest and no troll neging. Apollo is not your enemy, you should not waste energy battling him.

KILL
July 18th 2012


71981 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lol hes just a fag i will call fags out bro thats what i do

omnipanzer
July 18th 2012


21626 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm just saying the real battle is probably yet to come.
Be on your guard.

KILL
July 18th 2012


71981 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yea jom is pissed but i am ready

TheNotrap
July 18th 2012


8109 Comments


Really nice review Sonic, have a pos.

NightProwler
July 18th 2012


6423 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Really good review, indeed. A pos from here as well - I still haven't gotten to hear this album enough to rate it, but it'll come.

Digging: Pianos Become the Teeth - Keep You

ThrashTillDeath94
July 18th 2012


600 Comments


Good review bro, pos'd

Digging: Ne Obliviscaris - Citadel

Ire
July 18th 2012


41805 Comments


production on this is like pizza crust omg

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
July 18th 2012


50674 Comments


Great serious review

Digging: Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 2

Lakes.
July 18th 2012


28611 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

pizza crust is the best part of a pizza if done right and the production on this sucks so

Digging: Scott Walker and Sunn O))) - Soused

Lakes.
July 18th 2012


28611 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yea
also "This album sounds significantly less "rocking" than the band had likely attended."

attended=intended

good review though, m/

KILL
July 18th 2012


71981 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

dude whenz roll the bonezzz

KILL
July 18th 2012


71981 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oh the wind can carry



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