Rush - ‘Working Men’ (Atlantic) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Rob Watkins   
Wednesday, 16 December 2009 11:08


Rush_Working_MenGeddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart.  Shouldn't really have to introduce themselves, but for those of you who may have been living on the moon for the last 35 years, they are collectively known as "Rush".



Formed in Toronto, Canada in 1968, it wasn't until 1974 that this legendary trio of line-up got together and have been together ever since.


When you look back at the classic era rock studio albums of 'Fly By Night', '2112', 'A Farewell To Kings', 'Hemispheres' and 'Permanent Waves' to name but a few, it reads like a crash course in technical progressive rock, and who am I to challenge that?


Rush single handedly changed the face of the double live offering over the years, with 'All The World's A Stage' and 'Exit Stage Left' pushing listeners into new areas of what could be achieved with live music and by the time they released 'A Show Of Hands' in 1989 the band had totally transformed itself beyond all recognition ready for the Nineties and continued critical and commercial success.  


'Working Men' then captures the period directly after the Nineties Atlantic Studio albums and takes in the best of the band's previous 'Rush In Rio', 'R30', and 'Snakes And Arrows Live' albums following in the progressive footsteps of their legacy but with the modern sound and edge they had garnered over the preceding years.


So, as the crowd's roar fades in, the guitar riff to 'Limelight' is accompanied by the drums then the bass and of course finally, Geddy's voice, which must be the most distinctive of anyone in rock an' roll, period (well apart from Brian Molko anyway).


Next up is 'The Spirit Of Radio', and there can't be many artists around today who could perform a track like this quite as spot-on live, kudos indeed.


When I delve back into those old memories of classic Rush I mentioned earlier, I recall your typical rock song that had to last at least eight minutes long minimum. So with the '2112' edit, the longest track on this album weighing in at a rather paltry six minutes and fifty three seconds, I'm like "wow, what is going on here"?


The musicianship is absolutely top notch throughout this album, and 'Freewill', 'Dreamline' and 'Far Cry' are all musical case studies in how to perform for any aspiring musicians out there. My only reservation is that as each song fades in and out it kind of dampens the live album feel; still I'm sure any diehard fans will poo poo this comment and still check 'Working Men' out.


Geddy attempts his best German greetings to the Frankfurt crowd at the beginning of synth driven 'Subdivisions' illustrating clearly the multi-tasking capabilities essential for any truly global band.


Next up the previously unreleased on CD one 'One Little Victory' can be however be found on the DVD of  'R30', before the familiar acoustic intro to 'Closer To The Heart' unfolds. This classic is as etched into all respective rock fans brains as is the opening lyric. 'Tom Sawyer', 'Working Man' and 'YYZ' round things off nicely thank you.


So as I close this review I can't help but end with that aforementioned classic lyric as I think it sums up the band's lifelong attraction to its fan base;


"Philosophers and Ploughmen

Each must know his part

To sow a new mentality

Closer to the Heart"


Yeah, it's closer to the heart. Also note that this album is available on DVD with the same track listing.