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Rush: Presto (Audio Fidelity Hybrid SACD/CD edition)

1989's Presto isn't generally considered one of the better releases in the discography of Canadian legends Rush, but it's certainly no slouch when looking at their overall body of work, especially in the 1980's. Produced by Rupert Hine, and originally remastered in 2004, Presto is now receiving the SACD treatment from the folks at Audio Fidelity, and mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio. Charting at #16 on the Billboard 200 at the time of its release, Presto went gold in the US and Platinum in Canada, spawning a few minor FM radio hits, including "Show Don't Tell", "The Pass", "Superconductor", and the stellar title track.

Though on this album the band seemed to be moving away from their synth dominated material from their past few releases, like Hold Your Fire, Power Windows, Grace Under Pressure, and Signals, to a more textured guitar centered sound once again, the results, though decent, were a little on the bland side. "The Pass", "Show Don't Tell", "Presto", and the underrated "War Paint" all bear the traditional Rush elements, though Alex Lifeson's guitar work is still very clean sounding, which was a trend that started on Signals. His trademark roaring riffs didn't start to return in full form until 1993's Counterparts, but there are still some finely crafted guitar passages here on the engaging title track (including some great acoustic guitar) as well as "Hand Over Fist". Throughout it all, Geddy Lee's vocals & bass lines are in fine form, and his synth textures add plenty to the mellower tracks "Anagram" and "Red Tide". Neil Peart as always puts on a clinic, though he's perhaps slightly more reserved on this album due to the nature of the arrangements.

As generally is the case with these Audio Fidelity remasters, if you have a SACD player you can really test the limits of your system, but even the traditional CD layer sounds outstanding, with all the little nuances of these songs crystal clear and displaying crisp dynamics. The original CD booklet has been faithfully reproduced with complete lyrics & photos, so overall Audio Fidelity has done a fine job here on this one. It might not be the most spectacular Rush album ever released, but for all the fans out there who might want to hear it at its very best, this is the version to get.

Track Listing
1) Show Don't Tell
2) Chain Lightning
3) The Pass
4) War Paint
5) Scars
6) Presto
7) Superconductor
8) Anagram (for Mongo)
9) Red Tide
10) Hand Over Fist
11) Available Light

Added: August 7th 2014
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Audio Fidelity Website
Hits: 4320
Language: english

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