Another Brooding and Thoughtful Masterclass From a True Rock God.
Unlike so many of his generation Robert Plant’s not content to rest on his laurels playing a festival here and there churning out the Led Zeppelin back catalogue ad infinitum; and raking in the cash.
Nope; this guy is one of the few who actually appears to enjoy music; and more importantly constantly re-inventing himself while discovering and playing new styles that interest and excite him.
Which brings us to CARRY FIRE his eleventh solo album; recorded and released after a career spanning 50 years and in the singer’s 70th year.
There’s no mistaking Plant’s distinctive voice on opening song The May Queen, another engrossing intertwining of British Folk with a smattering of Celtic and World music with a smidgen of Rock guitar hiding in the shadows too.
Stay with me here; as you’d expect the production values here are excellent…..but while always showcasing the singer’s amazing voice; it also allows each and every song to breathe and live its own life. A lesser producer would have got carried away with the epic Dance With You Tonight or even the title track Carry Fire, with it’s flaming flamenco guitar flourishes; but both songs become even more empowered by such restraint.
After 50 years in the music business Robert Plant has no right to sound this good and still have the power to surprise and even; dare I say it…..SHOCK. None too subtly Carving Up The World ……Against a Wall and Not a Fence is a powerful ‘political song’ masquerading as a cracking Folk-Rock stomper. Played loud it’s all too easy to get lost in Justin Adams and John Baggott’s liquid guitar duel; but listen to the words from the Sage and you will find yourself singing along and nodding in agreement (I hope) and then there is also the tightly wrapped New World, which deals with sorry subject of ‘people displacement’ across the globe; and it fits in perfectly with the tone of everything else here; but still sounds fresh and exciting while vaguely reminding me of Plant’s EP with the Honeydrippers. Which is never going to be a bad thing.
The first ‘teaser song’ released a few weeks ago was the 60’s flavoured Bones of Saints and nothing has diminished it’s physical phenomenon now it’s sitting alongside the other tracks on this album, and it still shows that the Old Dog can show the young pups plenty of new tricks.
Which all brings us around to my ‘favourite track’ and yet again; not easy at all. But…..I’m going for Heaven Sent, which closes the album and just shades it over the very contemporary Keep It Hid.
I was never really a fan of Led Zeppelin in my youth; and it’s fair to say I only really ‘discovered’ Robert Plant when he got together with Alison Krauss; and I’ve become ever more smitten with every release and CARRY FIRE has done nothing to diminish that flame.
Released October 13th 2017