Rush-Caress of steel, 1975
What is the first Rush album that comes to your mind? I doubt it was this one as it tends to be a little overlooked. This was their third album and it seems be in the shadows of 2112 and Farewell to kings which are perhaps more total packages in terms of style. "Caress of steel" followed "Fly by night" and that's probably the album that it is closest to in style. Yet it still manages to define itself as well. Like "Fly by night" and "2112" this album has an epic song(s) done in parts plus some other songs that are not part of the epic(s). The two most known tracks here are likely "Bastille Day" and "Lakeside Park" and looking back they might they least typical Rush songs on the album. The former is perhaps the most straight ahead rocker Rush did in the 70's and the later is tightly constructed, but lighter in tone than some of the band's other material from this time period. "I think I am going bald" seems to get the worst rap due to it's lyrics as some fans feel it's silly or below the normal Rush standards. To be fair I don't their lyrical style wasn't completely founded at this point so it was okay to have a song like this. The music is decent, but not quite anything that will stick with you for long. "The Necromancer" is a three-part, ten minute long track. This is at times a darker style for Rush and there are a lot of quick pace changes and there is a spoken word thing going on. It has a bit of a science fiction type feel to it and By-Tor (of "...and the snow dog" fame) is mentioned. Some Rush purists do not like this song. My feeling is it's odd, but interesting and it held my attention. Lastly is "The Fountain Of Lamnethis another multi-part song that actually is the whole second sife of this album (yes, I only have it on vinyl). Maybe at times it's somewhat like the "2112" epic. Still it's a tad more subtle and a little less distinct at times. Personally I like it a lot because it's done in a style that kept me guessing as to what was coming next. That's also because I have not heard this album in at least two years. Overall it might actually be a little underproduced compared to their other efforts of the decade, even the debut. Yet I like the production as it gives the album a slightly darker, less polished feel and maybe in the long run it was good to have an album that was a little different in that respect. The album as a whole is more disjointed than something like "Farewell to kings" or "Hemispheres", but they were still finding themselves and exploring what they could do. I like it a lot and remember back in the summer of 1989 when this and "Fly by night" spent a lot of time in my walkman. Not their best, but certainly worth giving a spin.
***Rush week presses on with a Rush version of the Heavy Metal Jukebox on Wednesday.