Here we have Rush’s second album. It sounds like their tenth, meaning only that they seem to have sprung fully-formed into this seasoned, incredible sound so early on and holy hell it’s amazing. Once again may it be noted that this remastered version was sent to me by our brother in rawk Lebrain.
Let’s hop to it!
Anthem serves notice that this band is here to rock you. There’s an obvious difference in the drums, moving from Rutsey to Peart, but the energy is still there. It’s a huge riff from Lifeson, and Geddy’s voice is in full wail. Pure classic hit song.
Best I Can keeps the rock coming, another supremely big rock song. This shoulda been a hit. Why wasn’t this a hit? An embarassment of riches from which to choose, perhaps? Anyone have another guess?
Beneath, Between And Behind is the third massive 70s rock-out track in a row. The musicianship here (and everywhere, of course) is awesome. The shifting time signatures are dizzying. It’s as though they had so many good song ideas so they just jammed them all into one song. Cool!
By-Tor & The Snow Dog keeps the record’s relentless need to burn and rock alive. Yes! The instrumental bit around 2:00 is…um… weird, very spacy and with this odd growling thing over top. The stop-start timing at 4:00 hints at intricacies in future songs. So cool. The track then becomes this quiet, minimal echoey thing (which goes on a little long, in my opinion) before ripping into a huge blues guitar solo, and that’s all before crashing into a reprise rock out ending. Damn, Now they’re making entire albums into one song!
Fly By Night is a Total Classic. You know this song. ‘Nuff said.
Making Memories has a sweet acoustic intro that layers in electric guitar and drums as it builds. This is a real feel-good track. Why was this not a radio hit, when it has accessibility written all over it? Anyway, it’s also a good seque track into…
Rivendell, a gentle acoustic tune done in the old style, as though some bard was singing it beside a fire in a tavern. Of course, given the subject matter, they’ve nailed the only way to play a song like this. Lovely.
In The End eases us gently, as well. It’s all a ruse, though. Before the 2:00 mark the big guitars are back and we’re hitting the theme heavily. This is truly a beautiful song. As it gently rocks us out at the end, I realize that this record has a split personality. Big rock and gentle caress.
In sum: Goddamn, all of that was brilliant. I could play this ten times and still get new things from it. Thanks heaps, Mike!