Rush-Permanent Waves, 1980
My favorite Rush albums are Fly by night, 2112, Moving pictures and this one. If forced to choose an absolute favorite I would say it's which ever one these I heard last. So that would this one at this point. This was Rush's seventh studio album so they were becoming veterans at this point, but they were still growing and exploring their musical direction. The band was getting away from the science fiction epics that had defined them a few years earlier. Now they were becoming a bit more accesible, but no less interesting. Their sound had often been a wall of music at times, but by 1980 their sound was becoming very huge and extremely busy. There are times here where I feel like I am being led through a maze as the music cuts this way and that at unexpected turns yet it always leads me to a satisfying end. Still it has an undeniable smoothness to it, but I think it helps rather than holding the material back. "The spirit of radio" and "Freewill" both received a great deal of airplay. Both are well played musically, but definitely catchy and more accesible than some of their earlier material. I love the solo on "Freewill" as it's just crazy and all over the place. "Entre Nous" is similar in style to the two radio songs, a little more serious and reserved maybe. "Jacob Ladder" starts out at sort of a plodding pace, but picks up to a steady pace. Then it's a rather airy middle and then goes to a more upbeat, mid-tempo pace and it marches on to an end. Maybe a little more basic than other songs here, but no less interesting and slightly heavier. "Different strings" clocks in at under four minutes and is fairly slow and low key until around the three minute mark and then gets into some gritty jamming. The slower parts make me think of looking out the window on a rainy day. The solos for some reason remind me a little of early Alice Cooper. "Natural science" comes on last and it's over nine minutes and the band doesn't waste any time here either. It's crammed packed of pace changes, Geddy using his full vocal range, Peart hitting everything in reach and Alex squeezes like three tracks worth of guitar into this one song. This track simply charges on and never lets up. A fine way to end a great album. This album is still like a great ride that has never gotten old.
***Rush week will wrap up with a review of the new album on Friday.