Unbiased reviews of new vinyl releases, audiophile reissues, and more

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

RUSH: Permanent Waves MFSL 180 gram vinyl

Permanent Waves

In 1980, the Canadian trio Rush, released their seventh album, Permanent Waves. This release was a departure from their previous work as it began a move toward shorter, radio-friendly songs and yielded AOR hits such as The Spirit of Radio and Freewill, that are still played to this day. These hits propelled the record into the Top 5 of the U.S. album charts and brought the band a new legion of fans, which would further expand with their next album, Moving Pictures. While Rush has continued to gain new fans throughout the years, chances are that if you are reading this, you were in your teens or twenties in the Eighties.

Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab has a reputation for releasing ultra-high quality vinyl pressings. This title was no exception. The flawlessly pressed 180 gram disc arrived clean, flat, and was exceptionally quiet during playback. The vinyl is packaged in a gatefold cover made of premium heavy card stock with an anti-static Mofi rice paper inner sleeve.



original vinyl back cover

I compared the MFSL vinyl, mastered by Shawn Britton, to an early Masterdisk "HW" pressing and the MFSL simply bested it in every way. The original vinyl has a nice midrange, but the lows stop short of giving the punch that the music demands and the highs are choked off. Geddy Lee's voice also sounds a bit distant and congested on the original.

The MFSL projects a nice low-end thump, bringing Neil Peart's drums into much better focus than the original and also extends the highs without ever becoming bright. Often, when the lows and highs are boosted or extended, it comes at the expense of the midrange, which is rarely a good thing with guitar-heavy music such as Rush. The good news here, is that the midrange is fully intact on the MFSL, delivering the full organic crunch of Alex Lifeson's electric guitars.

My only minor quibble with this reissue is that the cover photography is not of the highest resolution. That said, with all of the "premium" reissues out there that fail to deliver sonically, this one should meet or exceed your expectations. Whether you've had this record for years or are a new fan of the band, you will never hear it sound better than on this fine reissue from MFSL.

Recommended


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