Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Robert Plant - Lullaby And… The Ceaseless Roar (2014)

Genre - Hard Rock / Classic Rock / Global / Ethnic
Label - Nonesuch

Track listing:
01 - Little Maggie
02 - Rainbow
03 - Pocketful Of Golden
04 - Embrace Another Fall
05 - Turn It Up
06 - A Stolen Kiss
07 - Somebody There
08 - Poor Howard
09 - House Of Love
10 - Up On The Hollow Hill (Understanding Arthur)
11 - Arbaden (Maggie's Babby)

Unlike so many of his contemporaries who've held on to their glory days like they’re the very lifelines keeping them alive, ROBERT PLANT has managed to stay relevant after Led Zeppelin.
Now the legendary vocalist is releasing his new solo album on September 8th, "Lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar", the first with his new backing band The Sensational Space Shifters, although the name of the band is not mentioned in the front cover.
By shedding his Golden God image, and Led Zeppelin‘s mythical standing in the process, Plant has remade himself as a genuine anomaly: an authentic Americana roots artist born and bred in England.
While his old cohort Jimmy Page breathes new digital life into Zeppelin’s old catalog, Plant is half a world away, figuratively at least, exploring African beats, pan-global rhythms and the many intricacies buried deep in music that has little to do with American blues.
"Lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar" expands the territorial boundaries of music while working flexibly within their confines. This is a worldwide music album, but in a sense that has influences from many cultures.
This is NOT a 'world music genre' garbage, Plant has enough good taste (and a rocking heart) to do that.
Not that those who've written off Plant as a stuffy, stodgy old man who gave up his rock ‘n’ roll past for deadly serious grownup music will be swayed to come back around. But now that he’s let the dust settle on his Americana recordings, he’s globetrotting with a musical thirst of someone a third his age.
From the stripped-down and acoustic sway of opener "Little Maggie" - the only song here not written by Plant and members of his band the Sensational Space Shifters, though they did arrange the traditional number - to "Rainbow" mix of moody atmosphere and stabbing guitars to the rolling, skittering beats that guide "Arbaden (Maggie’s Babby)", the CD finds its inspiration in places as far reaching as the Sahara desert and in the modern scene of ’90s Bristol.
Filled with the sounds of non common string instruments, clever electronic loops and various West African percussions, but of course traditional rock electric guitar, bass & keys, the 11 songs skim and drift over a landscape of rattling drums, genre - and culture -jumping melodies and an abundance of gray noise.
Plant, who produced, gives "Lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar" a relentless sense of adventure; while renowned mixer Tchad Blake piles on extra layers of ambiance.
I think that is the exact word to describe this record; 'Adventurous'. And always captivating.
All of which, again, won’t convince fans expecting Plant to belt out ‘Whole Lotta Love’ for the billionth time that the singer is actually now in the most exciting period of his solo career.
"Lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar" reveals more and more the more and more you listen to it. Has he ever sounded more mature vocally than he does on the spare ballad "Stolen Kiss"? By the way, it's my favorite cut on the album.
This is a deep, rewarding album, paying back the time and patience you invest. Is it better than any of Led Zeppelin’s classic albums? Of course not. But it’s probably better than the album they’d make if they were still around.

Stand out tracks include, Stolen Kiss, Rainbow, Somebody There and Up On The Hollow Hill.
Very Recommended.

Rating - 9/10

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