In late 1989, Rush, moving from Mercury to Atlantic, decided to ease off on their “computers and synths period”, reverting to rock. Presto is strong on songs, but retrospectively it still sounds very much of the 80s (something which the crisp SACD sound emphasises).
Produced by Rupert Hine, it boasts echoing drum sonics and a glistening sheen. The Trevor Horn-like rhythms of Scars could almost be ABC or Frankie Goes To Hollywood. This is not a bad thing. In fact the marriage of clean, concise arrangements and Rush’s innate, shrill, histrionic edge often punches above its weight.
The trio wrote some powerful hooks and choruses, with tracks like Chain Lightning and The Pass excelling as a breed of accidental power-pop. War Paint, with its rousing, anthemic refrain of ‘boys and girls together/paint the mirror black’ is like a trashy gothic Sweet. A better Rush album than most Rush fans realise.