Saturday, 29 January 2011

CD Review: Moving Pictures, by Rush (1981)

With all the danger of a cuddly pet desperately seeking to please, Rush aim for the big, broad, radio-friendly market, and on Moving Pictures they ensure that any hint of an edge is sanded off to produce a polished, pillowy surface. The result is the tamest possible progressive metal, enjoyable to the extent that self-important poetry set to safe music can ever be.

Geddy Lee pays a lot more attention to his synthesizer toys than his bass guitar: the album is super-sweetened with layer upon thick layer of grand synthesizer chords in which all other instruments are dropped to suffocate slowly. Alex Lifeson pops by with the occasional guitar solo in isolation of any meaningful melody or supporting structure. Neil Peart tries hard and works up a sweat on the drums, but the songs are much more appropriate as background music in a smoky lounge than a rock arena.

Opener Tom Sawyer was a big hit for the band, defanged metal with just a bit of a pulse. It's always worrisome when the best track on an album is an instrumental, and sure enough YYZ (the code for Toronto Airport) is by far the most energetic tune, adequately conveying the bustle of a busy airport. The other five songs meld into one another under a steady and smothering stream of mid-tempo blandness on happy pills, Lee's high-squeak vocals growing ever more tedious.

It's good that at least the pictures are moving, because the music is otherwise just firmly stalled.


Geddy Lee - Bass, Synthesizers
Alex Lifeson - Guitars
Neil Peart - Drums

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Tom Sawyer - 8
2. Red Barchetta - 6
3. YYZ - 9
4. Limelight - 7
5. The Camera Eye - 7
6. Witch Hunt - 6
7. Vital Signs - 6

Average: 7.00

Produced by Rush and Terry Brown.
Engineered by Paul Northfield.  Mastered by Bob Ludwig.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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