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Rush - Power Windows (7/10) - Canada - 1985

Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: Mercury
Playing time: 44:41
Band homepage: Rush

Tracklist:

  1. The Big Money
  2. Grand Design
  3. Manhattan Project
  4. Marathon
  5. Territories
  6. Middletown Dreams
  7. Emotion Detector
  8. Mystic Rhythms
Rush - Power Windows

The RUSH of the 1970’s was, by the mid-1980’s, a much changed beast. Gone for the most part was the Arthur C Clarke and Tolkien referenced epic tracks, the Metal/Rock infusion that the band had generated through rigorous touring and mounting critical acclaim.

 

The guitar of Alex Lifeson so dominant over the course of the bands early records was being tested note for note by Geddy Lee on keyboards. Although the trademark Neil Peart drumming remained stoically brilliant and the high pitched yelping of Lee continued to help and hinder in equal measure, plus the often over complicated lyrical diatribe confused more than it did enlighten. RUSH in 1985 couldn’t sound anymore different from the band that gave us ‘’Xanadu’’ and ‘’2112’’.

 

However for all the musical differences and the growing sense that the band were becoming the Prog Rock world’s answer to Sting/Copeland and Summers, the RUSH sound was still readily identifiable. Even with the resurgent keyboard of Lee often seen to be decimating all in its path, ‘’Power Windows’’ does contain a few choice cuts from the veritable RUSH tome.

 

The brisk ELP like fanfare opening of ‘’The Big Money’’ breaks into a kaleidoscope of interweaving guitars, drums, keyboards and rumbling bass. With the focus much more on fact than fiction even the lyrics sought more political and economic understanding nullifying the quaint sword and sorcery chest beating of the 1970’s. ‘’Grand Designs’’ sees succinct interchanges between guitar and keyboard whereas it used to be guitar and bass, no surprise as the music was penned by Lee and Lifeson.

 

Both ‘’Manhattan Project’’ broaching the subject of nuclear war and the indefatigable pace of ‘’Marathon’’ harkens back to more old school RUSH with the guitar pushed that bit more in front. Whilst ‘’Territories’’ demonstrates the penchant for new age electronica sounds, ‘’Middletown Dreams’’ and ‘’Emotion Detector’’ encroach too eagerly and sound tragically dated. Thankfully the impressive ‘’Mystic Rhythms’’ restores faith that not all the familiar RUSH sound is being flushed down the plug hole of Roland synths and naff haircuts.

(Online March 31, 2008)

Chris Doran



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