Robert Plant pulls no punches with ‘Carry Fire’, his first album in 3 years, out this Friday October 13.
‘Carry Fire’ is Plant’s eleventh solo album, and very neatly contains 11 tracks. It’s his first full-length release since 2014’s acclaimed, ‘lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roar’, and features once again, the Sensational Space Shifters, as well as Chrissie Hynde, Albanian cellist Redi Hasa, and Seth Lakeman.
It’s an album of two halves: politically charged tracks such as the guitar and drums led ‘Bones Of Saints’, and ‘Carving Up The World Against…A Wall And Not A Fence’ on the one side, and softer songs like ‘Season’s Song’, with a very pleasing crunching of autumn leaves underfoot at the start, ‘A Way With Words’, sounding like an homage to Bowie, and ‘Bluebirds Over The Mountain’ (featuring Chrissie Hynde), on the other. Nonetheless all the tracks are united in a sense of urgency, as if Plant at his 69 years has realised now is the time to stand up and be counted. It’s a sobering thought that Plant might be feeling his own mortality, but given the number of his contemporaries who’ve died in recent years on the cusp of 70, it’s not a difficult leap to make.
‘Carry Fire’ harks back to the glory days of Led Zeppelin, albeit with less oomph in Plant’s voice: the sultry sexiness of his smokey vocals however is perfect for the mostly down-tempo tracks, and doesn’t at all detract from the power of the lyrics. It’s here that ‘Carry Fire’ is at its most Zeppelin-esque, with lines such as, from ‘Season’s Song’,
My senses have escaped me
My mind is on the run
and, from ‘Bones Of Saints’, a commentary on the state of world politics,
So much, so nearly broken
The servants of a lie
Now, everything is burning
There’s a fire up in the sky
Carry Fire is a strong album and picks up where his 2014 release, ‘lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roar’ left off. If this proves to be Plant’s final work, then it’s a brilliant one to end on. But it certainly sounds like there’s fire in the old dog yet, and we hope it’s not another three years until we hear more of where that came from.
Robert Plant And The Space Shifters will be performing on the following dates at these locations:
Thurs 16th Plymouth, Pavilions
Fri 17th Bristol, Colston Hall
Mon 20th Wolverhampton, Civic
Wed 22nd Llandudno, Venue Cymru
Fri 24th Newcastle, City Hall
Sat 25th Liverpool, Olympia
Mon 27th Glasgow, SEC Armadillo
Tues 28th Perth, Concert Hall
Thurs 30th Manchester, O2 Apollo
Sat 2nd Belfast, Ulster Hall
Sun 3rd Dublin, Bord Gais Energy Theatre
Weds 6th Sheffield, City Hall
Fri 8th London, Royal Albert Hall
Mon 11th Portsmouth, Guildhall
Tues 12th Birmingham, Symphony Hall