RUSH — Permanent Waves (review)

RUSH — Permanent Waves album cover Album · 1980 · Hard Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
While sometimes rather straightforward, this is a good Rush release to have. Permanent waves contains pretty much everything in Rush's 'signature sound' of hard rock with prog and will be sure to please the fans, and it contains a few synthesizers in the mix, a sure indicator of what is to come.

As soon as the album kicks off with "The Spirit of Radio", it becomes apparent that this is definetely a more-intelligent-than-average type band. As Alex Lifeson plays a tricky introguitar line to the song Neal Peart and Geddy Lee do some killer bass and drum interplay with complex runs up and down with tricky rhythms clashing with the tempo of the intro. The rest of the song holds little surprises after that, though it's still a fun song.

The rest of the album is similar to the track, though the moods and overal sounds of the songs vary quite a bit. The hard rock sound is by far the most prominent sound on the album, though there is a clear prog influence with some odd times in quite a few songs. However, sometimes the band suffers from using these, like in "Freewill" where it seems that they couldn't come up with a creative vocal line so Lee ended up singing the lyrics note- for-note along with the riff, creating a song which may leave more to be desired than using odd time signatures for the sake of them. However, they make up for this in "Jacob's Ladder", and while using an alternating 5/4 and 6/4 pattern, there are beautiful synths and vocals above the quietly picked guitar.

Of course, the album is still uneven although it does contain a couple standouts. The beginning tracks on side two, "Entre Nous" and "Different Strings", are really not notable softer type songs, sometimes containing more progressive parts, but those parts really don't do anything to bring up the average quality of the songs. Of course, these are followed by "Natural Science", which is a killer track with all the elements that make a great Rush track, with energetic guitar riffs and weird times all over the place, all over a great 9-minute journey. "Natural Science" may possibly be the track that makes the whole album worthwile, along with "Jacob's Ladder"

Overall, it's mostly just a good album. Rush fans will be all over it, and fans of hard rock and prog should enjoy it too.
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