Saturday, February 27, 2010


Part 2 of the Sophomore Success series:

I know the masses (OK my three other friends that love this band as much as me) have been waiting for a blog about Rush. For years we had to hide our fan/nerd love for this Canadian prog-rock trio's massive output of amazing work. Sure the masses love Tom Sawyer but that's about all anyone know by them. Then not to long ago something amazing happened. Six different movies all coming out with in about two years of each other had music by Rush in the soundtrack, references to Rush, and several even had Rush cameos. Rush's music was even featured in the video game Rock Band. For a band that was virtually "unknown" and very private this was quite bizarre. But I digress, we are here to discuss Fly By Night, Rush's second LP.

For my fellow Rush-heads (is that what we're called?)it is painfully obvious why Fly By Night is better than their s/t debut. For those not in the know it was the first Rush LP to feature Neil Peart. On the first LP the drummer was John Rutsey and although he was a fine drummer he was no Neil Peart. Neil is considered a "god" among drummers in the rock industry. Not only did he become the backbone of the band but he became the lyricist as well. Granted his lyrics at this time weren't the greatest, but there are some memorable cuts on the release. The lyrics for most of the songs though did give us a hint at the greatness that would continue on their future releases.
Several of the songs took their cues from literary works, labeling them as a "brainy" band. The first track Anthem is based on the short story by Ayn Rand of the same name. The other literary track is Rivendell, based on Bilbo Baggins journey in the Tolkien novels. Other songs were just about having fun and there was one epic track that showed they were about to enter into prog-rock teritory. Which is a label they haven't been able to shake. This is a bit mistelling and recalls a scene from the movie Fanboys. The one Rush obsessed fan tells his friends they can only listen to Rush when they are in his van. His other friend says come on man, how about some variety? To which he replies "RUSH IS VARIETY!"
Oh how true this statement is. They've gone from hard rock to prog rock to ska influenced to synth rock to dark metal and at one point they even had a rap breakdown in one of their songs. They like Bowie and Zappa are true artists and musical chameleons. The chameleons are at their hard rock best on Fly By Night.
Those that listen to the CD for the first time might think "ho hum it sounds a bit like watered down Led Zep". I'm the first to admit that there is a chord progression in their song Beneath, Between, Behind that sounds exactly like a Led Zep song. Zep was also the first to have a song reference Tolkien's writings, so the Led Zep comparison is not far off. This in itself is odd because it's usually Led Zep that is ripping off other peoples work (ooooh, burn!!!) At any rate it's a fun rocking album that although may not be the best Rush LP (that distinction is a tie between 2112 and Moving Pictures)it is a good starting point for anyone wanting to jump on the Rush bandwagon.

Enjoy or don't.

Darren Menendez

1 comment:

  1. Rush IS variety! Nobody hears this album first and is sold on Rush... its best discovered after you take in a few other albums in my opinion. But your review is spot-on.