The latest album from Robert Plant is a hypnotic blend of styles, a mellow but powerful release from the former Led Zeppelin front man. While the music may have softened throughout the years, Plant has lost none of the soul in his voice, which washes over you throughout the album.
Plant is once again joined by Sensational Space Shifters members John Baggott, Billy Fuller, Justin Adams and Dave Smith, as well as mutli-instrumentalists Liam Tyson and Seth Lakemane, and special guests: drummer Richard Ashton, cellist Redi Hasa and Pretenders lead singer Chrissie Hynde.
As the album draws you in and envelopes you within its sublime and at times almost chant-like rhythmic nature, it’s hard to pinpoint the highlights, as they are both sparse yet frequent by the very nature of the album. Tracks such as New World feel as though they may stand a cut above though, as does album opener The May Queen, the wonderful Bones Of Saints and Carving Up The World Again….. (A Wall And Not A Fence).
Title track Carry Fire perfectly traverses styles, subtly balancing rock with eastern guitars and strings, creating a pulsing rhythmic fusion. While Keep It Hid has an almost electro-pop/rock feel to it, which provides a much needed change of pace to the album, yet fits perfectly alongside the relaxed grooves underpinning the majority of the album.
Bluebirds Over The Mountain featuring Chrissie Hynde sharing lead alongside with Plant’s unmistakable vocals, is almost Zeppelin-esque at times and thoroughly enjoyable.
Review by Peter Lanyon