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  • If you’re a true fan, you know that Rush’s pattern has been to put out 4 studio albums and then a live one. Well, seeing as how this was thier first album after “A Show of Fans” (their third live album), we all knew that this would be the beginning of phase four.Noone disputes that Rush’s music has evolved more than any other single rock band that has ever existed. Heck, they’ve had since 1968 to figure out where they wanted to go musically, but what always made them different is that they never stayed in one place for very long. The first 4 albums brought them from Zeppelin/Ayn Rand through gothic to raw progressive; the next four took them from there to more polished prog with all 3 of them playing multiple gadgets and instruments at the same time; the next four took them through a more keyboard oriented, emotionally enlighted period [much growth was shown over this period alone. Listen to Neil say "Keep on looking foreward, no use in looking around" in 1975, but in "Time Stand Still" in 1987, he says "I'm not looking back, but I want to look around me now"].With Presto, Rush began phase 4, and they did it in the usual, brilliant Rush fashion. It took me awile to accept that this was, actually, Rush playing songs like Available Light and War Paint, but as time went on and I actually took time to listen to every track, note, and word on the album, every one of them has become part of my soul. “War Paint” is a brilliant artistic synopsis on the issue of the masks we use around each other, “The Pass” almost begs the listener to see a bigger picture in life, “Scars” celebrates the ability to feel, “Superconductor” is a comical look at the bands antithises: the flash-in-the-pan kid who becomes a megastar at 16 and a has-been at 19 (I am personally of the opinion that Neil had The New Kids on the Block in mind when he wrote this), the title track is a symphony reminiscent of dreams, and “Hand Over Fist” appears to be Neils statement that isolation is never preferable to experiencing life (listen to him say “I can’t pretend a stranger is a long awaited friend” in 1980s Limelight, but in 1989s Hand Over Fist he says “Take a walk outside myself in some exotic land. Greet a passing stranger; feel the stregnth in his hand; feel the world expand”). Overall, I think the album is a band making a statement that feeling, actually feeling, physically and emotionally, is far preferable to simply being elevated or put on a pedistal. And that it’s preferable to know that one person loves you than to pretend the whole world does .Listen to Rush. They have more to say than you could imagine. What makes then great is that they always find new ways to say it. So let it be with Presto.

    Posted on November 18, 2009