This is, I think, usually seen as a step above Permanent Waves, but I actually think it’s a bit of a step down. The poppier sensibility is still the same, which is good, but I just didn’t find the songs here to be as strong. No, not even Tom Sawyer, surely the one song everyone knows is a Rush song. It’s fine, but not particularly great. Which is true of most of the tracks here actually. Red Barchetta is probably the best, and at over six minutes, it’s actually one of the longest tracks, so bit of a change up there. Though The Camera’s Eye, the requisite ten minute track, is pretty awful. The rest of the songs here are just okay, if not ever memorable. I mean, whatever, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Distinctly average album. Recommended against. 2 stars.
tl;dr – poppier sound persists but songs aren’t particularly good; even the iconic Tom Sawyer is a disappointment. 2 stars.