Rush – Permanent Waves – Our Shootout Winner from 2016

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame

Just the third Triple Plus (A+++) copy to ever hit our site — these are TOUGH to find with this kind of sound.

The drums and cymbals sound right (although quite different on these two sides, compare and contrast for yourselves), which is essential on a Rush album. As everyone knows, Neil Peart’s drumming is a major highlight of anything the band does.

If you’re a fan of the band, you know what these guys are about — big-time technical prowess, dizzying effects, powerful solos and so forth. You’ve got to have a very good pressing with serious clarity and lots of energy if you want that magic to come through in the grooves. Many copies we played didn’t let you hear just how hard these guys are shredding… and then what’s the point? If the musicianship gets lost in the mastering, why bother with this band at all? We were looking for copies that didn’t let us forget who we were listening to. Put simply, we wanted copies that melted our faces off, just like this music would do live.

The drums and cymbals sound right (although quite different on these two sides, compare and contrast for yourselves), which is essential on a Rush album. As everyone knows, Neil Peart’s drumming is a major highlight of anything the band does.

Proggy Arty Rock – We Can’t Get Enough of It

What the best sides of this Proggy Arty Rock Album have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl domestic pressings like this one offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1980
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the keyboards, guitars and drums having the correct sound for this kind of recording
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now

Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

The Spirit of Radio
Freewill
Jacob’s Ladder

Side Two

Entre Nous
Different Strings
Natural Science

AMG  Review

Since Neil Peart joined the band in time for 1975’s Fly by Night, Rush had been experimenting and growing musically with each successive release. By 1980’s Permanent Waves, the modern sounds of new wave (the Police, Peter Gabriel, etc.) began to creep into Rush’s sound, but the trio still kept their hard rock roots intact.

The new approach paid off — two of their most popular songs, the “make a difference” anthem “Freewill,” and a tribute to the Toronto radio station CFNY, “The Spirit of Radio” (the latter a U.K. Top 15 hit), are spectacular highlights.

Also included were two “epics,” the stormy “Jacob’s Ladder” and the album-closing “Natural Science,” which contains a middle section that contains elements of reggae.

Geddy Lee also began singing in a slightly lower register around this time, which made their music more accessible to fans outside of the heavy prog rock circle. The album proved to be the final breakthrough Rush needed to become an arena headliner throughout the world, beginning a string of albums that would reach inside the Top Five of the U.S. Billboard album charts. Permanent Waves is an undisputed hard rock classic, but Rush would outdo themselves with their next release.