Rush - Hold Your Fire
Mercury Records
80s Rock, Pop-Rock
10 songs (50:21)
Release year: 1987
Rush, Mercury Records
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Of all Rush’s albums, even the notoriously divisive Caress Of Steel, Hold Your Fire is the most controversial. This is amongst the band’s Poppiest offerings, with Alex Lifeson more or less non-present. The majority of the music is Geddy’s odd-sounding bass and keyboards, and Neil’s electronic drums, with Alex relegated to the background. Listen to opener Force Ten and it’s obvious, the backing guitar adding texture to the otherwise 80s music. What ultimately just saves Hold Your Fire is the songwriting; no, not the forward-looking and involving Prog masterpieces from previous years, but simple, catchy tunes that are hard to forget, as much as you wish you could at times. Fine, the band had been moving in this direction since Moving Pictures, but never is it so obvious. Aimee Mann features on Time Stands Still in a rare guest spot for the band (the first one ever, I believe) making the song a highlight, but there are a lot of dull songs on this album, and whilst as a Rush fan I can tolerate the band at a low, it’s a bit much to acclaim it as one of their best, as some astoundingly do.

Open Secrets is the first to fall foul, a meandering mess that features little of note aside from a solo from Alex. Second Nature follows in the steps of previous albums, a ballad-y sort of song with dated yet epic synths. Prime Mover and Mission are standouts (the latter especially, with the structure more original and exciting, and the emotive vocals having the right effect for once) but Lock And Key and Tai Shan especially are dreadful, the former boring, the latter possibly the band’s worst track of all time: a cheesy tribute to China that implements even more odd percussion and effects and goes exactly nowhere. Turn The Page’s catchy bass riff and chorus are the only reasons to give it a listen, and who remembers High Water?

Really, the only difference between Rush in the latter part of the 80s and the average 80s band, was that Rush played their instruments rather than relying on studio or programmed trickery. If there’s a fault with the band, it’s that they’re too quick to follow popular musical movements, and whilst many fans enjoy their 80s output, I find myself wishing it had never happened for the most part. Of course, Rush at this point in their discography are far, far from their best period, and wouldn’t release a great album from 1984’s Grace Under Pressure until Roll The Bones, nearly ten years later. Fans that enjoy collecting all of Rush’s output will probably find much to enjoy with Hold Your Fire, but on no accounts should it be anything but the last one you bother with.

Killing Songs :
Force Ten, Time Stands Still, Prime Mover, Mission
Goat quoted 62 / 100
Other albums by Rush that we have reviewed:
Rush - Clockwork Angels reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 90 / 100
Rush - Beyond The Lighted Stage reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Rush - Test For Echo reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
Rush - Counterparts reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
Rush - Roll The Bones reviewed by Goat and quoted 87 / 100
To see all 26 reviews click here
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