The Canadian prog-rock trio Rush, which was rejected by critics like Led Zeppelin wannabes, spent the 70s converting teens into bookish fantasies with Alex Lifeson’s six-string run, Neil Pearts percussive kinetics and a dexterity based on Geddy Lee, who complemented a vocal approach is best described as a readable scream. It admired children who grew up with Rush. In 1997, Stephen Malkmus dedicated a stanza to Lee in Pavement’s “Stereo”. So the Canadian trio and Zeppelin had similarities after all: Like Robert Plant, Lee sang as if he were another guitar. Also differences: Where Zep stank of sex, Rush smelled of bookshelf dust.
Gauche enough (ie young enough) to pay homage to “Ayn Rand’s genius” in the liner notes for 2112 (1976) rolled Rush through the decade and put their influence to music. Now that no one younger than 50 cares why punk withdrew from prog, these albums before 1980 offer solid, solid musical extensions to the added fiction, such as. is known to fans of Genesis’s 1973 album Selling England by the Pound. With Rush, however, there was a turbulence, an aversion to the decorative. When they discovered, they could sound nice on A farewell to kings” Closer to the heart, ” it was a glass of wine after years of grape juice.
Touring had taught Rush the design of their own material. Moving images is the result. Released in 1981, their eighth studio album – reissued in honor of its 40th anniversary in a lavish multidisc / multi-LP set – mastered the concession. Instead of three and four minute long things like “Fly By Night”, “The Trees” and “Closer to the Heart”, which act as smoke breaks between epics, the ten minute long “The Camera Eye” anomaly is in the middle of a suite of often strict melodies with choruses and middle notes. Rush takes the notions of progress that their lyrics take seriously, and must have noticed these bright, shiny melodies on the FM disc, mostly recorded by younger men whose shortness matched their hair length.
And also rhythms! Not entirely mysterious, but Rush’s instrumental chops and charming, yawning futurism produced a smooth incorporation of dub and reggae. Someone in the Rush locker room must have loved Police, who at the time were three albums to a career that would make them the world’s biggest band and most fragile trio. Absorbing black rhythms through the filter of another white trio acts as an insurance: It is less stressful to get the blame for borrowing from people like you. Rush experimented with a small shank on Permanent waves’ “The Spirit of Radio,” which may explain why it became a real hit in reggae-laden England rather than in an America that went through the hassle of keeping black disco acts off the air. With Lifeson playing ups and downs, Moving images’ “Vital Signs” shows the most obvious signs of police work, but the sequencer may carry the influence of Pearts beloved Ultravox. After all, to quote him: “Everyone must deviate / from the norm.”