Picks and Pans Review: Rush

updated 01/22/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/22/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST


When Rush first intruded on our attention 15 years ago, the Toronto trio seemed to belong to the same muzzy bag of Midwestern rockers as Styx and REO Speed-wagon. What sets them apart is that, ever so slowly, they have grown as musicians.

On the down side, their sound is always going to be somewhat stuffy. Even when they're trying to let go, as on this album's "Chain Lightning," they still have a tendency to insert fustian interludes that disrupt the song's sway. But their rock formalism has never been better realized than on "Presto," nor has their playing.

Drummer Neil Peart compares with Stewart Copeland in the complexity and clarity of his attack. Guitarist Alex Life-son sounds great too, especially on the slash-and-burn riff of "Show Don't Tell," the broad-brush power chords of "War Paint" and the reverberating "Superconductor." The trio's dubious constant is Geddy Lee, perhaps pop music's whitest-sounding singer. The cartoonishly high pitch and overwrought intensity of his voice make it the one component of Rush for which it is still hard to acquire a taste. (Atlantic)

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