RUSH – Moving Pictures [HDtracks 2015 remaster]
Without a doubt, “Moving Pictures” is the most famous album (and for many their best) from Canadian legends RUSH. It was their transition to synthesizers and catchy melodies, launching the band to mainstream stardom in the early ’80s.
This milestone album has been remastered several times, but now has received a 2015 treatment by Sean Magee at Abbey Road Mastering Studios and it’s being sold thru HDtracks.com in Audiophile 48kHz/24bit HQ format.
“Moving Pictures” is a great example of how technicality, songwriting mastery and a thoroughly emotional touch combine in an exceptional way. Lyrically, the album continues in the vein of its predecessor Permanent Waves in how it touches more on real-life subjects than the fantasy elements of previous works.
Due to drummer Neil Peart expanding his range of lyrical themes, we get songs about the price of fame (“Limelight”), the moods and lifestyles of different places (“Camera Eye”), and even automobiles (“Red Barchetta”).
Geddy Lee’s singing is improved and more varied range-wise on this record, establishing him as a more solid storyteller as he sings the tales that Peart is weaving.
The instrumental work is, as usual, absolutely fantastic; the trio play off each others’ contributions wonderfully and there’s a great sense of unity that prevents anything from sounding like aimless noodling.
Even in the sole instrumental “YYZ,” the band know what time to devote to soloing and what time to devote to composition. The Morse Code-inspired 5/4 section in the beginning is still an iconic progressive rock moment and luckily the song just keeps on giving, with a trade-off solo segment and a synth-ridden slow portion keeping things interesting.
And of course we have the timeless classic “Tom Sawyer”.
This is one of the most impressive aspects of “Moving Pictures”: how it’s so radio-friendly for Rush and still manages to be so damn good.
The hard-rockin’ radio staple melodies of “Tom Sawyer”, the dynamically-varied “Red Barchetta”, the fan favorite “Limelight” and of course “YYZ” were all big hits when they came out, and yet remain considered some of Rush’s most beloved songs even by hardcore fans who love their underrated material.
Radio rock fans will instantly recognize and appreciate that iconic first note played in “Tom Sawyer”, while the progressive rock crowd will appreciate the craftsmanship that went into the rhythmically varied guitar solo by Alex Lifeson.
“Red Barchetta” will have the casual crowd enjoying the catchy melodies and Geddy’s singing performance while musicians and hardcore fans will notice Neil Peart’s varied drum fills going on in the meantime.
Even lesser-known songs such as “Witch Hunt” and “Vital Signs” carry this sense of balance, the latter even using a combination of the typical Rush sound and a Police-like poppy influences.
“Moving Pictures” is some kind of masterpiece, combining proggy arrangements and technical playing / arrangements with a catchy, FM Rock / hard rock bounce like few albums in Rock history do.
It’s probably the best album for people who are just getting into Rush, and don’t want to be scared off by the 10 minute instrumentals and concept songs of earlier albums.
This 2015 remastering by HDtracks is jaw-dropping. All comes crystal clear like (at least in my previous listening experiences) never before. Truly excellent job.
A MUST HAVE CLASSIC.
01 – Tom Sawyer
02 – Red Barchetta
03 – YYZ
04 – Limelight
05 – The Camera Eye
06 – Witch Hunt
07 – Vital Signs
Geddy Lee – vocals, bass, Minimoog, synthesizers
Alex Lifeson – electric and acoustic guitars, Moog Taurus
Neil Peart – drums, percussion, glockenspiel
Hugh Syme – voice-8 synthesizer on “Witch Hunt”, art direction
BUY IT !