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Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

3WA 2018 #44: Rush – Presto

Sometimes, what an established band really needs is a change of scenery to shake up the creative flow a bit.

What is it?

Presto is the 1989 studio album release from Rush. It’s their first under the Atlantic label and with a different producer from their previous couple of records.

How does it sound?

Girls and boys together, play the sampler mix:

Why this pick?

Rush is another of those bands of whom I’m never going to be the biggest fan. My enjoyment of their stuff is definitely far more casual than it is devoted. Like Garbage’s Bleed Like Me last week, Presto is the first (and only) Rush album to fully click with me. Most of the albums before and since have all had a song or two (maybe three) that I like, but as a whole the albums have left me somewhat cold. This record, though, I enjoy all the way through.

Go figure.

Which songs are the highlights?

You get no points for guessing that I like a lot of the uptempo songs like “Show Don’t Tell,” “Red Tide,” “Superconductor,” and “Scars.” I enjoy the title track’s mellower vibe just as much, though. Same for “Hand Over Fist” and especially the closer, “Available Light.”

You do earn bonus points if you get the joke behind the title of “Anagram (For Mongo)” without Googling for it.

Which songs don’t work so well?

I don’t actively dislike anything on this record.

Having said that, “The Pass” and “War Paint” are… merely okay, I suppose.

Which album did you almost pick in favor of this one?

I considered going with one of the post-millennium releases like Vapor Trails or Clockwork Angels, but other than a couple of big tunes I’d have struggled to find anything to say about either one of those. So instead, I could probably have made a good case for Roll The Bones, the follow-up to Presto which features a couple of my all-time favorite Rush tunes (the title track and “Ghost of a Chance”).

Any final thoughts?

The mix for Presto is brighter, almost shimmery in its use of the higher sound frequencies, compared to earlier records. This is appropriate given that the lyrical content seems mostly positive and upbeat. Insofar as I can parse it, anyway. Is this why I like Presto the best?

If you’re a Rush fan who, for some reason, hasn’t tried out Geddy Lee’s solo record My Favorite Headache, I can at least recommend giving it a listen. (It was a freebie from the radio days. Would I have paid full price for it? Maybe, maybe not.)

… Hey, can you believe we’re getting close to done with this year’s project? Wow. Time flies when you’re playing oodles of music.

1 Comment

  1. Pray tell, does the joke like beans? Is the joke merely a pawn in the game of life?

    If you shoot the joke, you’ll only make it mad. Best leave the gun behind.

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