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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars back to basics - and no bad thing
After the electronic adventures of the eighties, Rush went for a more stripped-down style on "presto", jettisoning the orchestras, choirs and sequencers in favour of a straightforward set of punchy songs with mainly power-trio arrangements. It really works - a more mature version of "Moving Pictures", to my ears. I hadn't listened to this for about 10 years until...
Published on 6 Sept. 2007 by M. J. Haigh

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hey presto
Once again,the canadian maestro's produced a cold clinical masterclass,but it dont grab you by the throat and make you want more,of all the Rush discs,this is the one,that for years i couldnt even name all tracks,despite having it since the day it was released, despite listening to it over and over,its not bad,they generally dont do bad but it never sticks with me,some...
Published on 26 Sept. 2010 by Mr Blackwell


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars back to basics - and no bad thing, 6 Sept. 2007
By 
M. J. Haigh (Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Presto (Audio CD)
After the electronic adventures of the eighties, Rush went for a more stripped-down style on "presto", jettisoning the orchestras, choirs and sequencers in favour of a straightforward set of punchy songs with mainly power-trio arrangements. It really works - a more mature version of "Moving Pictures", to my ears. I hadn't listened to this for about 10 years until recently, but it's been on my car stereo almost constantly for 2 weeks now. Some of it's a bit "Rush by numbers", but no track is less then good. I can even sit through the slightly tedious whiteboy funk of "Scars", knowing that the title track "Presto" is up next - if there is any song that will make me crash and burn, this is the one, it's Rush at their leaping-around-the-room-playing-air-guitar best. "The Pass", a scorching anthem for doomed youth, is reputed to be a favourite of the band, and I will always associate it with a long dead friend of mine. Overall, a celebration of life in all its exhilirating, tragic absurdity.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant album, but don't waste your money on the SACD, 29 July 2014
By 
S. P. Long "Simon Long" (Cambridge) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Presto (Hybr) (Audio CD)
Presto has been one of my top three Rush albums from the moment I first heard it - it's a brilliant combination of the melody of their late 80's synth period and the heaviness of the more guitar-based albums that were to follow, and it features some of Neil Peart's finest lyrics, particularly on "The Pass" and the title track.

This album has just been remastered and released on SACD, and buying the new version didn't require a moment's thought. However, in retrospect, I should really have paused and considered it for a second or two...

"Presto" was recorded at the tail end of the 80's, in the early days of CD. What's more, it was a DDD album - digitally recorded, mixed and mastered, using the relatively primitive technology of the day. This tended to give a slight harshness to the sound and a noticeable thinness in the bass, and "Presto" certainly suffered in this respect. Unfortunately, the SACD still has the same problems, but on thinking about it, this is hardly surprising.

The DSD encoding used on SACDs is designed to avoid the distortions caused by traditional PCM digital recording - but to get the benefit, you have to record using DSD, mix using DSD and then master onto an SACD disc. If at any point the signal is converted to PCM, the advantage of DSD is lost forever. Well, as above - this was a PCM digital recording, so the damage was done back in 1989 in a fashion that can't subsequently be fixed. I suspect the only point at which DSD is used on this disc is the final mastering to SACD, at which point it is far too late to hope to gain any sonic advantage.

Every Rush fan should own "Presto" - it's excellent. But save your money and buy the standard CD - it doesn't matter how good your system is; the SACD isn't worth the extra money.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Often overlooked Rush album gem, 3 Mar. 2005
By 
gingerguru "gingerguru" (Billericay, Essex) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Presto (Audio CD)
This is one of those albums you put on because you've not listened to it for months or maybe years. When you do, you are re-introduced to a great Rush album that brings a smile to the face and one which is often criticised by old-school Rush fans who didn't appreciate the band's shift in yet another direction.
I totally endorse the Amazon reviewer's comments. It seems the band really concentrated on good song-writing with catchy choruses and hooks. Dare I say it, Rush may even have wanted to produce a more "commercial" sound. As far as I'm concerned, they succeeded totally. These are songs that would be very strong even if played in a stripped-down version by a band without Rush's musical ability.
My particular favourites are Chain Lightning - fantastic chorus, The Pass - a beautifully crafted song, Presto - lovely shimmering guitar work and vocal harmonies in the chorus, Hand Over Fist - nice funky feel to the chorus and the final song, Available Light - another beautifully arranged and heartfelt number.
If you are one of those who has been warned off this era of Rush music, you will be missing out on some classic songs which still sound fresh today.
I like the overall production on this album - the guitars have a lush sound and Geddy's playing in nice and clear. Whatever the production, you can never stifle Peart's drumming which is as crisp-sounding and inventive as ever.
This isn't the easiest of Rush albums to get your hands on so take any opportunity you can to purchase it - it may be your only chance and you won't regret it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ..."And The Oceans Flow In My Veins...", 2 Jun. 2012
By 
G. Young (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Presto (Audio CD)
What was so refreshing about this album upon release was the lack of synthesizers, this is not a complaint however; Signals through to Hold Your Fire is one of the most exciting phases of Rush's career but I think it came full circle with the breathtaking beauty of Hold Your Fire. Rush had simply taken this style of their music to the end of its cycle.

The Pass and Presto perfectly showcased the new sound of Rush with the latter track featuring acoustic guitars aplenty and one of Lifeson's most simple, yet effective solos to date. Indeed Lifeson's guitar work as a whole enjoyed a healthy step towards the forefront of the Rush sound.

Presto stands alongside Counterparts as one of the landmarks of Rush in the 90's. Counterparts further developing the musical themes of electric and acoustic (guitars and percussion) sounds combined.

Lyrically, we can see some of Peart's most poetic efforts, the best of which can be found within Chain Lightning and The Pass. The magic of Presto lies in the midnight winter atmosphere it evokes and the finely air brushed production helps shape and define these cool, diamond like songs.

On a final note, Presto contains a few of their best compositions, via The Pass (a beautiful, understated guitar piece in the middle section) and Available Light, which has another brilliant Lifeson solo; a lonely, haunted, twisting sound that mirrors the lyrics perfectly. It is a strange album but that is simply another reason for me to love it. Is it a cold album? It is clinical - but it holds an icy beauty, like glistening snow at midnight.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back those guitars!, 19 Nov. 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Presto (Audio CD)
While Hold Your Fire was a good album, it seemed too much like a Power Windows 2 - clinically produced stadium rock. Presto takes this formula and re-jigs it with a welcome return to stripped-down music. Gone are the huge swathes of synthesizers and bass pedals to be replaced by well placed guitars (both electric and acoustic - bring back the 70's!), funky bass riffs and pounding drumming. Great songs breathe nicely with the music and are never drowned in the production. Peart's lyrics are thoughtful and add so much to the feel of the tracks. The title track is my favourite - a superb match of searing guitars, great acoustic strums, excellent drumming and great bass playing, along with lyrics that perhaps only 1989 could produce. Nicely varied, this album is simply excellent. Why many Rush fans overlook this album is a mystery.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An album of passion and unforgettable tunes!, 12 Mar. 2004
By 
This review is from: Presto (Audio CD)
From the moment I was introduced to Rush at the age of 14 I was hooked. Exploring each new Rush album was an exciting experience, and Presto, for me confirmed that Rush were not losing it, even after 16 years or so in the game. The album opens with the Zeppy riffs of 'Show dont tell' a song with a chorus that brought out the goosebumps on first hearing. This album has an emotional honesty about it, which lashes back at Rush's critics who say the band are cold and over pragmatic in their songwriting. Rubbish! Just listen to 'The Pass' or 'Available light' from this album. Two of the most touching songs the band ever wrote. The production is crisp, lacking bass a little, perhaps, and the musicianship, as ever is flawless. As a real Rush fanatic I would say this album is up there with 'moving pictures' and 'Hemispheres' as one of the bands finest.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Return of guitar driven music, 29 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Presto (Audio CD)
show don't tell the first song starts of sounding like it will be another synth album until the blast of guitar and bass then you realise this is going to be an excellent album and also another change in style for the band,
Excellent inventive guitar as always by Alex, Nice punchy bass lines and powerful clear, driving drums be Peart ( can't spell first name)
there is still a little bit of synthesizer but its alot less than on the last two or three albums, and while I like those albums its nice to see alex back to the forefront, and good powerful driving album.
Show don't tell is a pretty good opener but its not the best song on the album I don't think.
The album it self does sound Firmly very eighties which I actually like alot,
the next song Chain Lightning is cool but something about it just isn't particularly catchy
The Pass ( one of the bands favourites) is pretty good and catchy (probably why it is one of their favourites)

the production is really crisp and clear and very very good but some how not particularly sterile sounding. It sound stereotypically like the period of change that happened in the very late 80's and early nineties which is crystal clear sound quite spacious sounding, but with on this album at least very audible low end, as things were turning digital lots of album in this period were rather tinny but this one isn't which is good.
Geddy Lee seems to have toned down the complexity of his bass lines on this album, and they have definatley concentrated on how the over all song sounds rather than how their individual parts sound.

All in all a Fine albums and for some a fine (return to form) I don't consider it a return to form because I don't think they ever lost their form they just chose to use different sounds and instruments for a while ( innovative some would say)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slight of hand, 11 April 2012
By 
ratmonkey (Hardy Country) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Presto (Audio CD)
As the last 80s album. this has a similar sound to their previous 3 or 4 albums but lacks a certaing cohesion that made them so good. That said it is still a force to reckoned with and has so many good tunes it's hard to absorb.

Opener 'Show Don't Tell' is not one of my favourites but it is hard to argue with such honed songwriting ability. It has hooks, riffs and melody that would be the envy of any self-respecting writer. ' Chain Lightning' is sufficiently catchy also but fails to produce such long-term recall, almost as if this is a filler track, which is a testament to the band's strengths as it is not bad by any stretch. 'The Pass' is the first truly great song here. It harks back to material from Grace Under Pressure, is mellow but uplifting, a trademark Rush song. 'War Paint' is another very catchy track but sounds slightly deflated. Maybe it's the production, but it seems a little flat. 'Scars' falls under the same malady, but these are both 2 good songs as their melodies and rhythms still make a mark.

It's with 'Presto', 'Superconductor' and 'Anagram(For Mongo)' where the true essence of the album is laid bare. These are 3 dissimilar but equally transformative songs. Each are catchy, hook-laden and near perfect pieces of work, material that will be listened to by this reviewer for a very long time. They are the jewels of this album. 'Red Tide' is good but could have been removed and no harm would have been done. 'Hand Over Fist' and 'Available Light' are both excellent examples of Rush's inate songwriting nous.

Not a complete triumph when compared to the previous 3 aor 4 albums but it showed the beginning of a transition period for the band, moving away from the heavy synth sound that typified the 80s and onto a more stripped down, alternative sound that was to become indicative of the grungey and unsure world of music in the 90s. But as always with Rush, the tunes speak for themselves.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rockin' Rabbit!, 16 May 2004
By 
Edward Teach (Brisbane, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Presto (Audio CD)
An increasingly difficult album to lay your hands on, Presto is an essential component of your Rush collection. Whilst indicative of their lucid style, it nevertheless reminds us that even a transforming band can still go the distance.
Analysing individual Rush albums is a little like discussing the parts of a car engine. They are often only of interest to enthusiasts, are of little use to Bible salesmen but are each vital to the smooth running of a well-oiled rock and roll machine. Presto is yet another makeover and a welcome one at that. Whereas some of the late eighties efforts were mere fan belts and diodes, Rush kicked off the nineties with a turbo charger and, dare I say it, a Superconductor.
Stop messing around in the garage and go pull the rabbit out of the hat!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hey presto, 26 Sept. 2010
By 
Mr Blackwell (scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Presto (Audio CD)
Once again,the canadian maestro's produced a cold clinical masterclass,but it dont grab you by the throat and make you want more,of all the Rush discs,this is the one,that for years i couldnt even name all tracks,despite having it since the day it was released, despite listening to it over and over,its not bad,they generally dont do bad but it never sticks with me,some people love it,thats great,all opinions are valid but for me this disc more than any other represents the cold ,clinical perfection,music without emotion that Rush had evolved into,thankfully they would pull it back from musical abyss next time round

As with all Rush albums there are some excellent tracks, 'Show Dont Tell','Presto','The Pass' and 'Available Light',all worth hearing more than once,the rest just dont dont it for me,although 'Anagram For Mongo' stands out as better than average.

Nice to hear Alex to the fore,some superb solos to be found,yet the production ,for me , renders some of this cold .Still if you love this album ,great,i'm not as fond,its filed under ok.Like Hold Your Fire this also failed to go platignum,had this phase run its course? i think it had and the next album 'Roll The Bones' would herald the return of the Rush i wanted to hear..
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