Rush - Moving Pictures (Deluxe Edition)
In the past couple of years, focus on Rush has them painted as one of the more underrated yet no less important bands to come out of the progressive-rock scene, thanks mostly to the recent film made about them. But then they were always more than just another self-indulgent prog band churning out endless muso rubbish. They may have released their fair share of fantastical concept albums and lengthy fifteen-minute epics (with great results I might add), but it was with seventh album Permanent Waves that the power-trio started to think about honing their collective talents into a shorter format. Moving Pictures however was the pinnacle of this move, reaching an almost perfect combination of technical wizardry, astounding song-writing and a pop sensibility to boot. What better time to revisit it then than on the thirtieth anniversary of said album?
Containing some of their most well loved songs - and holding the title of biggest selling Rush album to date - it’s no surprise that the majority of these songs can still be found in the band's live set today. Starting with a bona-fide Rush classic in ‘Tom Sawyer’, the remastering process has really made each instrument so much clearer, from the space-age synths that herald the track's arrival to the intricate and still bewildering drumming of Neil Peart. His drum rolls crash across the speakers while Alex Lifeson’s powerful yet understated riffs carry the track on its shoulders. Peart’s drumming has always been one of the bands most unique attributes and on the instrumental ‘YYZ’ (where he plays a rhythm based on morse code), each cymbal crash and taught beat resounds in your ear.
Moving Pictures also saw the band lyrically moving further away from the fantasy-influenced stories of previous records, and into something altogether more personal on a track like ‘Limelight’. Here Peart describes coming to terms with the increasing celebrity of the band, and Geddy Lee delivers the vocals with so much power and force it’s hard to find fault with them. ‘The Camera Eye’ marks the bands last piece of music to ever exceed the ten-minute mark, exploring huge resounding guitars, marching drums and alien synthesizers in a track that sees the band going from thrashy, classic rock to juddery prog-rock time changes in just the first five minutes. Closing the album is ‘Vital Signs’, a song that continues the bands dalliance with reggae that started with hit-single ‘The Spirit of Radio’, and one of Geddy’s most impressive vocal turns.
This ‘deluxe edition’ may not include a large number of extra features, and the 5.1 Surround Sound Mix is underwhelming but this is still a brilliantly put together package. New liner notes and the digipak format do the artwork a hell of a lot more justice, and some unreleased photos don’t go amiss either. But really it’s the music here that’s lasted the transition from the eighties in the best possible way. Moving Pictures still has the power to astound your ears and keep you picking out the various subtle nuances littered within. Classic is a term bandied about a lot these days, but I can think of no better album to bear this tag than this milestone. Get your air-drum sticks / guitar / bass at the ready.