Search - Rush :: Presto

Genres: Pop, Rock, Classic Rock, Metal
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1

A Rush album based on groove? Strangely enough yes, and what's even more astonishing is how well it works. Rush have always been known more for technical flash than for straight-ahead rock, but Presto achieves a synthesis ...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Rush
Title: Presto
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 1
Label: Atlantic / Wea
Original Release Date: 11/17/1989
Re-Release Date: 11/3/1989
Genres: Pop, Rock, Classic Rock, Metal
Styles: Progressive, Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal, Album-Oriented Rock (AOR), Arena Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 075378373629, 075678204029, 075678373626, 075678204043, 075678373664, 756783736642

A Rush album based on groove? Strangely enough yes, and what's even more astonishing is how well it works. Rush have always been known more for technical flash than for straight-ahead rock, but Presto achieves a synthesis of the two that's accessible without compromising. It's strong lyrically, without the heavy-handed symbolism that makes, for instance, "Trees" so difficult to listen to, and the band often gets into a rhythmic groove that's positively infectious; check out "Scars" or "Superconductor." Presto is also the first Rush album where the incorporation of electronics and synthesizers truly works, instead of sounding like an additional layer artificially added to existing music. This album marked something of a creative rebirth; Rush has turned out consistently strong efforts ever since. -- Genevieve Williams

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CD Reviews

Remastered Magic
Scott D. Harris | Chattanooga, TN | 08/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Rush's Presto appeared in 1989 and represents the best of their "middle" period of development (Grace Under Pressure through Roll the Bones) characterized by an new emphasis on melodic inventiveness, a lean, stripped-down, bass "lite" sound, with keyboards and effects used heavily at times. It represented a significant departure from the traditional guitar and drum orientation of Rush's first six studio albums and was not welcomed by all fans. It did, however, produce some very good music, notably on this album, arguably Rush's most orignal effort ever.

Though clearly still a rock album, Presto at times has a somewhat jazzy, funk sound to it, evident immediately on the record's opening track Show Don't Tell, which sounds better in this remastering than the original. Scars, The Pass, the title track, and Red Tide round out the album's best, though the only real second-tier song is the forgettable War Paint.

Originally, many fans complained about the album's somewhat tinny, reedy sonic qualities. This remastering has gone aways toward relieving that problem, with a much more "present" sound to the bass and lower keyboards. The fact remains, however, that Presto is still not a "warm" album in the manner of Counterparts or Moving Pictures. I would characterize the sound as "bright" and somewhat cold. Geddy was still using his Wal bass at this time, and whether because of his preferences or the bass itself, the sonic result was a spare, though crystal clear bass line. Similar results occurred on the Roll The Bones album, which was also produced by Rupert Hine. Neil and Alex's guitar fills are also captured with great clarity. The original album was a favorite in terms of Neil's drum sound and this remastering has only improved the result. I personally enjoy this type of sound because of its clarity, but many others will not and will complain about the brightness and lack of a bottom end to the music.

Presto should be regarded by all as one of Rush's most original, inventive and unique albums in the 1980's.
Rush enters the 90's era with a... ermmm... modified bang.
Philip Parker | United States | 11/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I love this album. In fact, it's probably behind only Hold Your Fire, Power Windows, and Hemispheres in my favorites (but don't count on that. As you can see in my reviews, my favorites change like the weather.), but its production gives it no oomph. For instance, let's look at the entry of the guitars into Show Don't Tell. It should punch you in the gut, but instead it just taps you on the shoulder and says "Hey there..." It's not really Rush's fault, Rupert Hine just doesn't have a style that would fit Rush. It may fit lighter bands like Genesis, but definitely not a band like Rush.

Now that the production gripe is over with, now we can get to the music and lyrics. This is quite a unique album. Roll The Bones is different in the fact that it all keeps a moderate volume and tempo, but this one changes a lot. There's the energetic songs like Show Don't Tell, Chain Lightning, and Superconductor, but then there are also quiet, more introspective, quiet songs like The Pass and Available Light. The two that I just mentioned are some of the most emotional songs Rush ever put out. The Pass really blows you away lyrically, as does Available Light. They've also got musical genious behind them. They're really two potentially life-altering songs, especially the former. You wouldn't expect this from an album with multitudes of bunnies on the cover, but in this case it's more than meets the eye.

Would you me to break it down song-by-song?

1. Show Don't Tell -10/10- Starts the album with what should've been a bang, but was more of a loud tap. If you were to add a ton of bass and volume to it, it would make you look like the guy getting blown back in the chair on that one logo. (sorry for the lack of dignity.)

2. Chain Lightning -10/10- The production isn't too bad here, it's very energetic, much like Show Don't Tell.

3. The Pass -15/10- This one hits you hard. It can change your life. Listen to it NOW if you haven't heard it yet.

4. War Paint -8.5/10- I thought it was awesome the first time, but it gets old. But hey, they can't make every song a classic, right?

5. Scars -10/10- Danceable. Amazing. The bassline and drums especially make you want to just start dancing. It's sooooo strange, it's totally unlike anything else in the Rush catalogue.

6. Presto -11/10- Shows some of the magic of this album. You won't appreciate this song a lot at first, but it grows pretty quickly.

7. Superconductor -10/10- The first song I've ever heard that's mostly in 7/4 time that I could probably play at a school dance with positive response. The difference between this and most of the drivel they play is that this stuff is good.

8. Anagram -9/10- Cool lyrics, but otherwise it's just okay.

9. Red Tide -9/10- Alarmist lyrics, okay music.

10. Hand Over Fist -8.5/10- They're obviously saving up SOMETHING for us. This song's okay, but nothing special.

11. Available Light -12/10- BAM!!! Here it is, the awesome ending. The lyrics, the music... It all teams up for something super-special. There's piano, synth, bass, guitar, and drums. All from three people. Plus, there's about 200 peoples' worth of emotion in it. Holy cow.

Overall: 9.99/10. Great CD. I can't give it a 10 because not every song is perfect.If you're new to Rush, I'll refer you to Permanent Waves or Moving Pictures. If you have 5 albums or more, by all means pick this up. This is the last one I bought, and much to my regret. It's amazing."
A mixture of gold nuggets and gold dust
Robert J. Zumbrunnen | Boogerville, MO USA | 02/23/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is one of my top 5 Rush albums but mostly because of 3 songs, in order of preference. The Pass, Available Light, and Show Don't Tell.

For some years now, The Pass has been my favorite Rush song, finally replacing Vital Signs (from Moving Pictures). Not only tackling non-standard lyrical fare in typical Rush fashion (this one's about teen depression and suicide), but this song has to have the best melody of any song they've ever written. The melody may have modal leanings. Dunno. I know it's not often you hear vocalists comfortably doing major 7th and 9ths as part of the melody (basically sticking with the B-flat scale even on an E-flat chord, for example. And in typical Rush fashion, not slavishly sticking with "guitar keys". Name a key, and Rush has probably covered it.

The melody to this song is so beautiful, I'm grateful that there's a section where Geddy sings it accompanied by nothing but a simple bass line, and other places where phrases are punctuated by the whole band dropping out while he belts out the words. The acapella "Christ, what have you done!" still sends shivers through my spine to this day.

Available Light is another song that's really poignant and especially meaningful to a lot of Rush's fans who grew up with the band and are therefore the same age. In the same vein as "Time Stand Still", not so much grousing about how much it sucks to be getting old, but expressing a desire to wrap our arms around the here and now while we still can. My favorite lyric in this one, which I think is a real stunner is "Run to light from shadow. Sun gives me no rest. Promise offered in the east is broken in the west." using the sun as a metaphor for our cradle to grave journey.

Show Don't Tell, I just like because it's an unapologetic rocker that's easy to like even on the first listen.

While I don't particularly care for a lot of songs on this album, it's currently my favorite just because of The Pass and Available Light.

A good album to introduce your non-fan friends who prefer ballads to hard-core rock music. Suck them in with the pair of beautiful ballads then hit them with the others that show off their musical prowess and power just a bit more."