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59 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remastered Magic
Rush's Presto appeared in 1989 and represents the best of their "middle" period of development (Grace Under Pressure through Roll the Bones) characterized by an new emphasis on melodic inventiveness, a lean, stripped-down, bass "lite" sound, with keyboards and effects used heavily at times. It represented a significant departure from the traditional guitar and drum...
Published on August 31, 2004 by Scott D. Harris

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Rush universe evolves yet again...
To me, "Presto" is the same album as "Roll The Bones" but without the added benefit of sure-fire radio-friendly hits. Both were produced by Rupert Hine, and his sparse treble-heavy approach (guitars chime more than cruch, drums click more than thump, bass is audible but muted, synths are present but not overwhelming) defined the sound of both of those albums. But where...
Published on May 28, 2002 by The Scenario


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59 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remastered Magic, August 31, 2004
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This review is from: Presto (Audio CD)
Rush's Presto appeared in 1989 and represents the best of their "middle" period of development (Grace Under Pressure through Roll the Bones) characterized by an new emphasis on melodic inventiveness, a lean, stripped-down, bass "lite" sound, with keyboards and effects used heavily at times. It represented a significant departure from the traditional guitar and drum orientation of Rush's first six studio albums and was not welcomed by all fans. It did, however, produce some very good music, notably on this album, arguably Rush's most orignal effort ever.

Though clearly still a rock album, Presto at times has a somewhat jazzy, funk sound to it, evident immediately on the record's opening track Show Don't Tell, which sounds better in this remastering than the original. Scars, The Pass, the title track, and Red Tide round out the album's best, though the only real second-tier song is the forgettable War Paint.

Originally, many fans complained about the album's somewhat tinny, reedy sonic qualities. This remastering has gone aways toward relieving that problem, with a much more "present" sound to the bass and lower keyboards. The fact remains, however, that Presto is still not a "warm" album in the manner of Counterparts or Moving Pictures. I would characterize the sound as "bright" and somewhat cold. Geddy was still using his Wal bass at this time, and whether because of his preferences or the bass itself, the sonic result was a spare, though crystal clear bass line. Similar results occurred on the Roll The Bones album, which was also produced by Rupert Hine. Neil and Alex's guitar fills are also captured with great clarity. The original album was a favorite in terms of Neil's drum sound and this remastering has only improved the result. I personally enjoy this type of sound because of its clarity, but many others will not and will complain about the brightness and lack of a bottom end to the music.

Presto should be regarded by all as one of Rush's most original, inventive and unique albums in the 1980's.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Rush Remaster in the Series, July 23, 2009
This review is from: Presto (Audio CD)
I bought the re-mastered Presto to replace my old CD and I can't believe the difference in sound quality between the two. This album has by far benefitted the most in the Rush re-master series. Adam Ayan has done magic to this magical album. Alex's guitar has been separated from the synthesizers, which now seem to play a much more minor role in the album's sound. Getty's bass is now audible on all tracks and the professor's drum kit has been brought front and center, giving the entire album a more spatial, stereophonic sound.

I heard music on this album that I didn't know was there. You can hear Getty play a nice little bass riff at 2:40 in Chain Lightning, and his string picking behind the piano chords at the intro to Available Light is beautiful. In War Paint, you can now hear Neil hit probably every drum head in his kit. The bass kick drum can now be felt in every song, a fundamental requirement in rock music as Neil himself has said. I've always listened to Rush because I enjoyed their virtuoso musicianship. Singing and lyrics were always second to me. However, while listening to The Pass on this album, I heard two phrases in a way I never had before. You can hear vibrato in Getty's voice during the phrase, "Nothing's what you thought it would be..." that makes the vocal soar across the music. And his unaccompanied, "Christ, what have you done?" literally jumps out of the song and smacks you between the eyes.

The re-mastered Presto is like a whole new album for me and I would recommend it to any Rush fan who classifies themselves as not a fan of Rush's middle period. Now, if only we could get Ayan to re-master Vapor Trails, a great album that sounds like it was mastered inside a garbage can. Are you listening Atlantic?
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rush's Last Nod In The 80s - Takes Time To Realize The Greatness, July 10, 2007
By 
Mr. Sinister (El Cajon, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Presto (Audio CD)
When this album came out in November of 1989 I was no longer an avid Rush fan. I had other bands stealing my attention. It wasn't until some years later that I got back into Rush and began to listen to the albums that I had missed. Presto was one of them, so was Roll The Bones and Counterparts. Rush had grown kinda tired to me. There is the old die-hard Rush side of me that digs anything before Moving Pictures (except The Necromancer and maybe Rivendell) and then there is the new Rush fan that likes Signals and Grace Under Pressure and Power Windows. Rush has always broken their albums up in fours (until recently that is) by making a live album to close the door on another section of Rushtory (History. KISStory. Why not Rushtory?) and those live albums have always marked a new direction in the band's sound or motivation. You can hear the most drastic changes after All The World's A Stage and Exit...Stage Left, but even after A Show Of Hands, Rush continued to change. Hold Your Fire had already started the progression Rush was formulating with their latter work and Presto is the culmination of that. Lite and often overlooked, there are still some standout songs here in the mix. Let's look at the listing:

Show Don't Tell - The first time I heard Presto I was hardly impressed. This song did nothing to minimalize my fears. After years of listening to this song and the rest of the album, it grows on you. Presto was one of the first Rush albums that I had to digest for some time before I started to like it. The is a great song, it just took a while for me to realize it.

Chain Lightning - The Presto sound is not gonna go over very well with a lot of the old Rush fans, because it lacks the punch of previous Rush efforts. You have to look past that and accept that Rush is no longer that band. (YYZ is dead). Chain Lightning is a good song and Neil hasn't lost any of his edge as a lyricist. Geddy's vocals have become lighter over the years, less sharp, and that my lead to more people liking them. Face it, Geddy's voice is an acquired taste.

The Pass - The started to do this one live again in the past few tours and it is one of thos songs that you have to think about. Is it about school shooters? Teen suicide? Angst? Maybe all of them. Poignant. Impressive.

War Paint - The worst thing about Presto is that it is so cohessive, so flowing as an album that the songs tend to blend together. You have trouble remembering the titles of the songs. Another teenage angst song. Good. Not brilliant.

Scars - An over-looked gem. The rhythm is infectious. Is this Rush or U2? I like it.

Presto - The title track is an acoustic lesson in life and aspirations. Straight-forward. Mellow. I'm not one to go pointing my finger when I radiate more heat than light. Strange lyrics. Builds towards the end into an anthem. Reminds me of Resist of the latter Test For Echo.

Superconductor - One of my personal favorites. I used to play this in the car all the time and it would drive my wife nuts, but she actually liked it. This is the ONLY song by Rush that my wife could be said to like. I just love this song. It jams. The riff Alex delivers is cool.

Anagram For Mongo - Neil's clever lyrics make this song charming. Rush was always the Thinking Man's rock band. Flowing. Electric.

Red Tide - Another personal favorite from this album. The song itself is okay, but the lyrics are arresting, and Geddy delivers them with heart, making this song great. About the terrors of human intervention(pollution, AIDS, environmental destruction, etc.) Fugitives at the bedroom door, lovers pause to find an open store. Intense.

Hand Over Fist - Although Alex's guitar is not as biting as it was say on Moving Pictures or even Power Windows, he gets his point across. This is an often over-looked song because it's so deep into a very blending album. There are shreds of greatness here and there and especially in this song. Alex wails.

Available Light - Starts off very dragging and turns into a haunting song. The lyrics on Presto are still very technical and absorbing and even the lesser tunes bring about a sense of accomplishement. Reflections of the past. Streak of light, moving picture, moments caught in time... For and album ender, Rush put in a gem.

Overall, Presto is not a bad album in any sense. There are many great songs here. You just have to learn that newer Rush takes some time to digest before you can truly appreciate it. Had this been the first album by Rush that I ever heard, I probably wouldn't have been a Rush fan. Since I had some perspective of what they had done and what they were going for with Presto, I wound up liking it alot after some time had passed.

Dig it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Audio Fidelity SACD Review, July 19, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Presto (Audio CD)
Continuing their fine audiophile renditions of many important bands and artists over the years, Audio Fidelity (AF) has continued their magic touch with the release of Presto, mastered for SACD hybrid two-channel sound. FYI- AF will be releasing some 5:1 mixed SACDs before the summer is over. None of the Rush SACDs (Hemispheres and Counterparts), or gold CDs (Roll the Bones) are 5:1. There that's settled.

The sound? I just received (literally) a brand new Marantz SA-8004 SACD player, and man oh man is it a leap beyond the older multi-disc Marantz I had. Presto leaps out of the speakers and engages. I have never heard such a vibrant sound, open, yet tight in Geddy Lee's bass. In order of appearance, I have had this album since it came out in 1989 in the following formats: LP, original CD, remastered CD, vinyl again, and now, SACD. Which is best? Too subjective, but clearly vinyl is its own analog (digital mixed to analog actually) category. I can say conclusively that this SACD blows away the original and remastered versions on rebook CD.

Scars has great drums and sequencers going on, and the opening track, Show Me, Don't Tell Me has new life breathed into the digital realm. No longer does this sound like a thin digital recording (sure, it has some brightness, but not glaringly so), rather, it opens a nice wide soundstage, much unlike typical CDs. My front end is a tubed system, Rogue Audio Metis preamp and Magnum 88 amp through Wharfedale towers via Nordost interconnects and speaker cable. Results will vary by system, but this is a clear-cut hit for me.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mixture of gold nuggets and gold dust, February 23, 2006
By 
This review is from: Presto (Audio CD)
This is one of my top 5 Rush albums but mostly because of 3 songs, in order of preference. The Pass, Available Light, and Show Don't Tell.

For some years now, The Pass has been my favorite Rush song, finally replacing Vital Signs (from Moving Pictures). Not only tackling non-standard lyrical fare in typical Rush fashion (this one's about teen depression and suicide), but this song has to have the best melody of any song they've ever written. The melody may have modal leanings. Dunno. I know it's not often you hear vocalists comfortably doing major 7th and 9ths as part of the melody (basically sticking with the B-flat scale even on an E-flat chord, for example. And in typical Rush fashion, not slavishly sticking with "guitar keys". Name a key, and Rush has probably covered it.

The melody to this song is so beautiful, I'm grateful that there's a section where Geddy sings it accompanied by nothing but a simple bass line, and other places where phrases are punctuated by the whole band dropping out while he belts out the words. The acapella "Christ, what have you done!" still sends shivers through my spine to this day.

Available Light is another song that's really poignant and especially meaningful to a lot of Rush's fans who grew up with the band and are therefore the same age. In the same vein as "Time Stand Still", not so much grousing about how much it sucks to be getting old, but expressing a desire to wrap our arms around the here and now while we still can. My favorite lyric in this one, which I think is a real stunner is "Run to light from shadow. Sun gives me no rest. Promise offered in the east is broken in the west." using the sun as a metaphor for our cradle to grave journey.

Show Don't Tell, I just like because it's an unapologetic rocker that's easy to like even on the first listen.

While I don't particularly care for a lot of songs on this album, it's currently my favorite just because of The Pass and Available Light.

A good album to introduce your non-fan friends who prefer ballads to hard-core rock music. Suck them in with the pair of beautiful ballads then hit them with the others that show off their musical prowess and power just a bit more.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The beginning of the fourth era, January 6, 2000
This review is from: Presto (Audio CD)
If you're a true fan, you know that Rush's pattern has been to put out 4 studio albums and then a live one. Well, seeing as how this was thier first album after "A Show of Fans" (their third live album), we all knew that this would be the beginning of phase four.
Noone disputes that Rush's music has evolved more than any other single rock band that has ever existed. Heck, they've had since 1968 to figure out where they wanted to go musically, but what always made them different is that they never stayed in one place for very long. The first 4 albums brought them from Zeppelin/Ayn Rand through gothic to raw progressive; the next four took them from there to more polished prog with all 3 of them playing multiple gadgets and instruments at the same time; the next four took them through a more keyboard oriented, emotionally enlighted period [much growth was shown over this period alone. Listen to Neil say "Keep on looking foreward, no use in looking around" in 1975, but in "Time Stand Still" in 1987, he says "I'm not looking back, but I want to look around me now"].
With Presto, Rush began phase 4, and they did it in the usual, brilliant Rush fashion. It took me awile to accept that this was, actually, Rush playing songs like Available Light and War Paint, but as time went on and I actually took time to listen to every track, note, and word on the album, every one of them has become part of my soul. "War Paint" is a brilliant artistic synopsis on the issue of the masks we use around each other, "The Pass" almost begs the listener to see a bigger picture in life, "Scars" celebrates the ability to feel, "Superconductor" is a comical look at the bands antithises: the flash-in-the-pan kid who becomes a megastar at 16 and a has-been at 19 (I am personally of the opinion that Neil had The New Kids on the Block in mind when he wrote this), the title track is a symphony reminiscent of dreams, and "Hand Over Fist" appears to be Neils statement that isolation is never preferable to experiencing life (listen to him say "I can't pretend a stranger is a long awaited friend" in 1980s Limelight, but in 1989s Hand Over Fist he says "Take a walk outside myself in some exotic land. Greet a passing stranger; feel the stregnth in his hand; feel the world expand"). Overall, I think the album is a band making a statement that feeling, actually feeling, physically and emotionally, is far preferable to simply being elevated or put on a pedistal. And that it's preferable to know that one person loves you than to pretend the whole world does .
Listen to Rush. They have more to say than you could imagine. What makes then great is that they always find new ways to say it. So let it be with Presto.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PRESTO IS PURE MAGIC (Forget the Whiners!), July 31, 2002
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This review is from: Presto (Audio CD)
This album really holds a special place in my heart. Not only was it the first RUSH CD I ever owned (thanks Ma), but I saw them live for the first time on the PRESTO tour. I saw the video for "Show Don't Tell" on Mtv and became hooked. I drove my friends nuts senior year of '91 by playing the hell out of this CD. If you haven't seen Rush live, you're missing out. From the lasers to the 2 giant inflatable bunny rabbits coming out of 2 top hats to Neil Peart's awe-inspiring drum solo, it was at the time the greatest concert I ever saw.
PRESTO begins with "Show Don't Tell" complete with the band's signature complex time changes. Other highlights include "The Pass" an anti-suicide song beautifully written musically and lyrically. (You should see the video) "Scars" simply rocks with its anthemic chorus and tribal beats. The title track gives Alex Lifeson a chance to shine. "Superconductor" is the heaviest track on the album; although it rocks, YOU should hear it live! "Anagram (for Mongo)" Uh, I still don't know the parallel between the lyrics and the title, but it's still great. "Hand over Fist" is another catchy tune with great lyrics and sing-along chorus. The final track is the beautiful "Available Light".
I cannot recommend this album enough. I surprisingly heard a lot of people complain about the album being not heavy enough and lacking another "Tom Sawyer" or "Spirit of Radio".
Cry me a river.
I don't know if this is their best album, but it still remains my favorite. From start to finish there isn't a bad song here.
Enjoy the magic.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Subtle power, February 26, 1999
This review is from: Presto (Audio CD)
What this album lacks in production it makes up sheer beauty and emotional power. I was weaned on this Rush album, and grew to number it among my albums of emotional release and connection.
Neil's lyrics reach a high point here, not just in poignancy, but also in clarity. His verse is tight, his messages un-didactic, and his emotions honest.
Providing the framework for Neil's genius are Geddy and Alex's music. removed from the keyboard saturation of the previous four albums, and bereft of the muddying guitar-driven compositions of the next three, Presto's sound is bright, sparkling (though at times a bit tinny), and conatins some of the most beautiful and powerful meusical passages Rush has ever written. The harmonies on "Hand Over Fist", "Scars" and "Presto" are truly wonderful to listen to.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rush's first album of phase four is a magical experience, November 10, 2007
This review is from: Presto (Audio CD)
Rush's thirteenth studio and sixteenth overall album entitled Presto was released in November of 1989.
The Presto album was the start of the band's fourth phase of studio album and was the band's first album for Atlantic in the US, although it's technically on the band's own label Anthem which was distributed by Atlantic in the US.
Also, Rush switched co-producers from Peter Collins to ex-Fixx and Tina Turner producer Rupert Hine and went to Le Studio to record Presto throughout the spring and summer of 1989. When it emerged before 1989's end, would the album be as good as others or would it be a dud (read ahead as I found out in August of 1990 at the behest of my old friend Jason Keith whom sadly disappeared from my life when he moved from my native Mass back to his native Tennessee just one week after he introduced me to this album (and because of him became a Rush fanatic which I'll be eternally grateful)).
The album kicks off with the great rocker "Show Don't Tell" which was a huge song for the band and the album's biggest hit and an MTV staple. My favorite on this album, and many fans agree on this one, is the anti-suicide anthem "The Pass" which tells us in the face of all bad, suicide is not a way to go (I wished many people who did take their own lives listened to this song and got some help). Other favorites on this album IMHO are the title cut which got loads of airplay on rock radio (up in the Northeast territory of the US (Mass (where I'm originally from), Rhode Island, NY)), the rocking third single "Superconductor", the environmental conscious rocker "Red Tide" and the optimistic closing track "Available Light".
The album's other tracks "Chain Lightning", "War Paint", the African rhythm induced "Scars", the melodic tracks "Anagram (For Mongo)" and "Hand Over Fist" are great songs as well although many Rush fans hate these tracks for reasons I can't seem to grasp to.
The Presto album is sadly overlooked by fans whom either hated this album or ignored it or whatever and didn't give it a chance and as a result was the worst selling album of Rush's career up to that point peaking at a disappointing #16 on the Billboard 200 and stalling at Gold in sales despite the fact that this is one of the first Rush albums I ever owned in August of 1990 when my old friend Jason Keith who now lives in Tennessee turned me on to Rush. Jason, if you read this, contact me.
This album is highly recommended!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Abra-cadabra!, March 21, 2006
This review is from: Presto (Audio CD)
(This is a review of the original album as it was releaed in 1989, but I can't imagine remastering it as being a bad thing.)
For sixteen years, Ged, Lerxst and Pratt (sorry John Rutsey) had been growing and changing, each new record becoming exponentially more sophisticated than its predecessor. Synth washes started to come to the forefront on Signals, then began to slowly, but surely dominate the band's sound for the remainder of the decade. Which isn't to say that the quality of their records dropped off, Grace Under Pressure, Power Windows and Hold Your Fire all had their highlights, but the band's soul was starting to get as cold as the machines they controlled.
Enter, Presto. Rush, armed with a new label (Atlantic) and a new producer (Rupert Hine), once again embraced just how good they were as a hard rock combo, and bravely shed much of the technocratic mumbo-jumbo. They were veteran performers who had a decades' worth of experience in what can send shivers down an audience's spine and what can pump them up to the point of, well, banging their heads and laughing with pure joy. They were also smart, packing one of rock's most evocative lyricists, not to mention more jazzy, twirling riffs than you can shake a really big stick at!
And, bless their hearts, they ran with it! Creating their most mature, yet most rocking album to date. Gone are epics like "Natural Science", "Freewill", "The Trees" et al. In their place stand eleven glorious slices of what I can only describe as "Hard Rock For Grown Ups."
The band's playing is as inspired and dynamic as ever, but it's all in service to the songs, instead of showy prog-pieces. Geddy Lee's bass crackles like an electric spark, but he's wise enough to know when to back off. Alex Lifeson is one of rock's most criminally underrated guitarists, and his razor-sharp performance here shows how far he's come since "Cygnus X-1". He's not the only one, Neil Peart seems to have finally learned to control his massive drum kit, rather than vice-versa, he plays his guts out here, but never seems showy, he's `in the pocket' and he never leaves it. There's a lot of synth work here, but for the first time since `Signals' it serves the band instead of directing it.
"Show Don't Tell" kicks things off with a terse, squalling blast from Lifeson's guitar, then rumbles into life like a clockwork puzzle gone wrong as Lee and Peart's rhythm section try to hold on as the song starts to slip and slide. Geddy's funky, popping and slapping bass solo's worth the price of admission. "Chain Lightning" stomps into life with a deep bass line poised over Peart's crackling snare, with Lifeson twirling around him before they all dig in and start to rock out. The title track is a tiny masterpiece, with Lifeson's increasingly busy acoustic strumming balanced over Lee's warm, simple bass and Peart's snappy drums. "Red Tide" is one of the band's best songs, starting out with a `Power Windows'-era synth blast, then settling down into a brooding piano and bass melody that Lifeson's insistent guitar and Peart's seething drumming slowly begin to push into a corner, the chorus is to die for. "Available Light", the album's closer, is a moody, bluesy affair, Lifeson's guitar crying softly in the corner as Lee's warm bass and gentle piano fondlings lead into a classic Rush-o-phonic chorus with Peart's tasty snare fill.
The album's masterpiece is "The Pass", a terse, but elegantly phrased meditation on suicide and the mess that it leaves behind that starts out with a pair of sharp, sliding bass chords from Lee, then begins to slowly evolve into the band's best song in ages. It's here that Rush show us how far they've grown, with Lee's bass snarling softly in the background as his newfound, soulful voice sings Peart's best lyrics to date. Lifeson's guitar shines like a pack of fresh razor blades, his solo all the more devastating for it's simplicity, and all the while Peart's drums purr, snap, and crash at all the right moments.
Did I mention the electric "Superconductor", the swooning "Anagram (For Mongo), the meditative "Scars" or...well, screw it, buy the CD and you'll see.
This is progressive hard rock with real heart and soul. It's smart, but not brainy or condescending, emotional without being sappy or indulgent, and, most importantly, it rocks! This is Rush at the height of the powers, having the time of their lives.
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Presto by Rush (Audio CD - 2004)
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