While they were just getting their foot in the door with their 1973 self-titled debut album (1974 in the U.S.), Rush showed glimpses of what they could (and would!) evolve into on successive releases. Starting out as a blues-driven hard-rock act, Rush combined fantastic musicianship, integrity, and a love of music that set them apart from most bands. Combining the styles of bands like The Who, the Yardbirds, and Led Zeppelin, the resultant fusion was a great framework for the genre-defying progressive rock that Rush would create throughout the 1970s.
Rush is a fantastic release, though by no means their most solid work. Most of Geddy Lee’s lyrics on this album are a bit generic, and look almost comical when one views the lyrics that future drummer Neil Peart wrote on most of their songs once he joined the band before the Fly By Night album was released in early 1975.
1. Finding My Way – A solid and rocking opener to kick off the album, this track starts off with a bluesy riff, which increases in volume as the measures repeat. The intro lyrics sound quite a bit like something Robert Plant would belt out on a Led Zeppelin song, but I forgive Rush for this being their first album. Bands start off by playing what they know and love, and the bands that inspire them oftentimes find their way (no pun intended) into the early works of a new band. The solo is solid and the post-solo riff is tight. All in all, this is a great intro track and the recording sounds fantastic to this day: 11 out of 13 (84.6%).
2. Need Some Love – A short track with a fast tempo and cheesy lyrics. I dig the vibe of this song, even if the lyrics are sub-par. The drumline following the second chorus is simplistic but solid, and John Rutsey was not a bad drummer by any means. The guitar solo is short and sweet. This song: 10 out of 13 (76.9%).
3. Take A Friend – This track fades in slowly with a driving drum beat and a sweet guitar lick which repeats for many measures before the rhythm guitar kicks in to begin the first verse. The chorus showcases the seed of vocal harmony that would become an intregal part of Geddy Lee’s fantastic vocals in future releases. Yet another guitar solo graces this song, and it fits in nicely with the rest of the song. That’s one thing about Rush is that the individual parts don’t sound out of place, whether it’s a flashy drum, bass, or guitar solo. Rating: 11.5 out of 13 (88.5%).
4. Here Again – The longest track on the album, clocking in at seven and a half minutes, Here Again closed out the first side of the original vinyl album. A slow-tempo song with a groovy rhythm guitar line which graces a large portion of the track time. Geddy’s vocals sound more mature on this track, though it is spotty. You can tell that Geddy’s voice wasn’t fully mature, and may have still been changing from his teenage years. This song makes you want to sit back, relax, and enjoy some good rock music. The guitar solo near the five minute mark stretched out for a solid minute and a half, and is smooth as silk. It has a nice echo added, and doesn’t sound out of place at all. The second solo near the end of the song is great, and closes out the track perfectly. This song gets: 10.5 out of 13 (80.8%).
5. What You’re Doing – A neat little ditty with a cool guitar riff. John Rutsey’s drumming is solid in this track, and Geddy’s wisecracking lyrics aimed at naysayers are bang-on. The guitar solo is top-notch and Rutsey’s snare roll is solid as can be. The closing is a bit much with a few false endings, but the mini guitar solo makes up for it. Survey says: 11 ouf of 13 (84.6%).
6. In The Mood – This track is one of my favorite Rush tunes, and boasts a good intro guitar riff, which carries the rhythm of the tune during the verses. Lyrics are generic, but Geddy’s vocals are good. Drums keep up the beat, as usual, but nothing too flashy from Rutsey. Alex Lifeson belts out a shredding solo which is a fine tribute to blues form. This song gets: 12 out of 13 (92.3%).
7. Before And After – A peek into what Rush would evolve into in later albums, Before And After is a solid track which begins with a somber guitar riff and a slow tempo. Lots of harmonics and clean chords. Distortion kicks in at about a minute, and once the verse kicks in, the song shifts tempo up a bit. Geddy’s vocals are varied, and the simple chorus (Yeah…Yeeeeaah) is quite effective. Alex unfolds another fantastic solo in this song which sounds perfectly in place with the rest of the song. I give it: 9.5 out of 13 (73.1%).
8. Working Man – A classic Rush tune, which gets a lot of air play on classic rock stations to this day. The big hit song off this album, which is surprising since it clocks in at seven minutes. A good and heavy guitar riff opens the song and carries the verses. A groovy little breakdown cuts the song in half, and the closing guitar riff/solo are fantastic. The boastful conclusion bids you good tidings until the next release. All in all: 11 out of 13 (84.6%).
Overall, this is a great classic rock album, and a good addition to your collection whether you’re a casual or serious Rush fan. A more digestible form of Rush for the casual listener, and a glimpse into the roots of the prog-rock juggernauts they would become for the more serious music fan in the Rush spectrum. Overall rating of ‘Rush’: 10.8 out of 13 (83.1%).