sees another change in Rush's sound. This time, the album is flooded with airy synthesizer and guitar, and the drums are filled with lots of reverb, more than on Permanent Waves
. So in a way, this album has a very typical 80's sound.
So I was shocked by the opening chords of "The Big Money", but I can't say one way or the other whether the sound is better or worse, because sound alone isn't what defines the quality of a Rush album. What does is the song quality. So then - what about the song quality here?
Well, I won't pretend this is a great Rush album, but I sure enjoy it. Although it's not innovative or especially original, it is competently written and performed. So yeah, this is a pretty 'average' album by Rush standards, and arguably the first one where they didn't try anything new.
There are more fillerish songs here than on any of the band's other albums - "Grand Designs", "Middletown Dreams", and "Emotion Detector" aren't exactly essential Rush. They're good tracks though, with beautiful performances, and cleverly written, but I've nevertheless heard better from Rush.
So this album doesn't deserve a very high rating. But I do enjoy it nonetheless - even the oft-maligned "Manhattan Project", with all its pomp and whatnot - manages to entertain; unoriginal and uninventive yes, but nevertheless beautiful.
The album does include a couple of classics though. The opening "The Big Money" is one of the best tracks on the album, rocking steadily and firmly, and the synths no longer dominate, even though they are still present. And the 'novelty' track "Mystic Rhythms" is equivalent to "Red Lenses" on Grace Under Pressure
, casting an eerie atmosphere via tribal percussion and some dark guitar work.
by Reviewer: Fernando Canto
(blogging at Sir Mustapha's Album Reviews [Defunct]