2112. Never heard it. Rush is a band that never interested during my music listening life. You’re keenly aware of them as a Canadian kid growing up whether it’s the older kids that wear Rush shirts every day and smelling like uncle Vic, or the video for Subdivisions which is the only video I can recall of theirs during the Much Music video 80s. Even so, you can’t help but have good ol’ NHL feelings about them and their success in the US, Europe & Japan and they’re the only time I ever cared about a band getting into the hall.
In the last 2 years I’ve fallen hard for their shit. Owning several of their LPs and having most all of them in heavy rotation, it was only a matter of time before I found me a copy of 2112 and Caress Of Steel. Lo and behold both of them were waiting for me at Pandemonium Records this past Good Friday in very nice VG+/NM shape. Following Pete’s advice I went with 2112. He says he likes CoS best but 2112 is their Magnus Opus according to him. I figured, this is also their most famous t-shirt, I’ll go for it. So CoS sits at Pandemonium awaiting my yearly visit unless one of you good readers snaps it up first!
The record’s a beauty. Little to no wear anywhere on the jacket except lite fading on the spine and the LP itself is a strong VG++ bordering on NM. Lots of shine too. I made the mandatory check and found Gilbert Kong’s initials along with the MASTERDISK stamp. This is the one! At 18 bucks it was a no brainer. I left the store thinking I had an original pressing but Discogs proved otherwise. It’s a second press, but with the original stampers from what I can see (i.e. crossed out matrices, etc).
Label: Anthem Records
Year: 1977 pressing (originally pressed in 1976 on Mercury Records).
Side 1 – S̶R̶M̶-̶1̶-̶1̶0̶7̶9̶ ̶A̶-̶C̶A̶N̶-̶1̶ ANR-1-1004 MASTERDISK G.K.
Side 2 – S̶R̶M̶-̶1̶-̶1̶0̶1̶9̶ ̶B̶-̶C̶A̶N̶3̶ ANR-1-1004-B MASTERDISK G.K.
Mastering: Gilbert Kong @ Masterdisk
Pressing Plant: Not entirely sure but my guess is the old Capitol Records plant in Mississauga.
Finished off a bottle of Glenfiddich 18 year old which I received from a co-worker for Christmas along with a few Lindt chocolate bunnies during the listen. The Glenfiddich is a fairly dark whiskey, very similar actually to the color of the bottle. For an 18 year I was expecting more. The taste, although easy drinking and pleasant enough, comes across as average. Tis smooth with very little harshness, but nothing that would keep you coming back for more. That said, there’s definitely a synergy between this whiskey and milk chocolate! I found that the two go great together a week ago when chilling with the wife, and enjoyed the combination once again.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m totally digging Rush these days with Permanent Waves, A Farewell To Kings & Moving Pictures being my favorite of their LPs. I also enjoy Fly By Night more and more with every listen. Yup, I’m looking forward to this listen…I take the dog out for a pee, drop the needle and sit back glossing over the LP jacket as the ride begins. There’s a printed circuit board pic on the inside gatefold. Cool. Side 1 opens with a bit of knob twisting (?) sci-fi-ish ambience that segues into some interesting guitar and drum work. I glance over the lyrics which is interspersed with quotes which I’m guessing is attributed to Ayn Rand (since the band gives him props). A quick google not only confirms it’s a woman (I figured a man) but that Ayn’s a novelist (she wrote Atlas Shrugged! Who knew???)
Phone rings and I’m asked to turn it down. Fuck, that wasn’t long! I want to turn it back up but so is life in a small bungalow. At this point I have no idea what song we’re on. Apparently the whole side is “2112” broken down into seven acts. There’s a time signature change which I’m thinking may be a new act…the instrumentation are definitely interesting but I wonder what Geddy will sound like on this record! Cannons! And something about the meek. OK, that had to be the end of Act I. As the next song, Act II (The Templs of Syrinx), heats up I’m pretty sure I’ve heard it before. Yup, I definitely did and it’s a pretty good tune. Act III (Discovery) has some kind of babbling water sounds and cool solo guitar work which I also like. There’s a nice build up after the first verse and some great sounding guitar work…I wish I could blast it.
I’m pretty sure we’re on a new Act by now and I turn the volume up a notch with immediately makes Peart sound better. If I were to guess, I’d say I’m on Act V (Oracle: The Dream) and I think I may know this tune also. Regardless, it’s a good song with great sonics finally starting to emerge during some kind of triple solo that’s going on. OTD finishes and it’s definitely an interesting song. Act VI (Soliloquy) also sounds great but not really a fan…some heavy guitar solo action in this one. I think we’re entering Act VII (Grand Finale) and I really like the song’s energy. The whole side’s apparently written by Peart. Well done dude. We Have Assumed Control. I have to be honest…if Side 1 is a “story” I have no idea what it is. I may sit down later with the lyrics.
Oh yeah! Side 1 played absolutely dead silent. Sweet!
Side 2 opens very differently to the flip-side and I also detect a bit of surface noise for about 5 seconds but nothing major. A Passage to Bangkok is not a bad opener but not really digging it, and I thinks the song is about pot! LOL…I never knew any Rush fans to be pot heads hehe. A bit more surface noise leading into The Twilight Zone before settling down but I still detect it bubbling beneath. Damn, it keeps popping in and out throughout the song, plus not really loving TTZ has me waiting for the next tune.
Lessons opens with a guitar riff that buries the surface noise finally. The song’s killer and it’s a tune I’ve heard many times before. Besides the thunderous guitar and drum work on the album so far, Geddy’s also been absolutely wailing most songs. Lessons is my favorite song on the LP thus far…righteous tune! More guitar work as the song ends, solidifying Lifeson’s ownership of the song. Tears starts up and so does the dreaded surface noise. At least it stayed free (i.e. buried) in Lessons. It’s now official, Inner Groove Damage. Tears is OK at best and Something For Nothing doesn’t do me any better. As it ends I find myself thinking it’s actually not that bad and reasonably enjoyed it.
The music and surface noise ends.
Sigh…a whole side of IGD. You never know what you get until you play the record. Visually the record looked great…side 1 played silent but side 2 was riddled with IGD. And I have to admit I didn’t love the record. Maybe I have to listen to it a few more times or maybe I was too focused on the IGD come the second side. There were a few tunes I definitely dug and I will give the LP another chance or two but with always knowing there is noise waiting for me on side 2. The Glenfiddich is also kaput. Polished it off with the rest of the bunnies. Not a bad whiskey, but at its price point there are literally dozens of better choices.
The Fine Print:
This was not a review of the aforementioned vinyl LP or alcoholic drink, but a personal reflection on my experience of listening and imbibing. Such factors such as vinyl condition, pressing, intoxication, room size, rig, stylus wear and mastering may result in a different listening experience.