The former Led Zeppelin vocal legend Robert Plant has been out on the solo road for over 30 years, with releases covering many different styles and sounds, so it's a given that his latest release lullaby...and The Ceaseless Roar would fall right in line with that trend. Along with his current band The Sensational Space Shifters, Plant moves away from the bluegrass pop of his recent collaborations with Allison Krauss to a more layered approach that combines rock, pop, folk, blues, ambient, African, Celtic, world, and gospel. It's a pretty haunting album overall, not one that immediately 'grabs' you, so expect to give it a little time before it all starts to really sink in and make sense. The wide assortment of instruments used, including guitars, banjo, drums & percussion, bass, tabal, keyboards, kologo, ritti, bendirs, and many others make for a rich & textured sound throughout.
Songs fluctuate between upbeat, bouncy rock/pop/world numbers to more meditative pieces highlighted by Plant's soothing vocal delivery and alluring instrumentation. "Little Maggie" is the first single from the CD and the kick off track, and it's a pretty engaging piece that really grows on your after repeated listens. "Embrace Another Fall" has a dreamy feel, with a lovely female vocal from Julie Murphy and some brief Zepp styled 'thunderisms' in spots. The keyboard work on this one is quite lovely, with some great Mellotron sounds adding a nice touch. "Turn it Up" is one of the heavy rockers, with a riff right out of the Jimmy Page school of rock guitar, while "Somebody There" is a gorgeous folk/Celtic flavored piece, Plant doing a fine job on the vocals. Mellotron strings again pop up on the folky pop-rock of "House of Love", another fairly mellow track but it has this dreamy quality that you can't ignore, Plant's understated vocal just pulling you in. There's a heavy vibe to the bluesy "Up on the Hollow Hill (Understanding Arthur)", featuring some solid guitar work and tribal percussion, and bubbling electronica & smart guitar riffing permeate the funky, futuristic grooves of "Arbaden (Maggie's Babby)".
Overall, lullaby...and The Ceaseless Roar is a fun album, if not an immediately engaging one. Some of this material is really laid back, almost too much so, but with a handful of really strong songs that seem to keep peeling back rewards the more you listen to them, you can't not chalk this up as a strong release from the legendary vocalist.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1) Little Maggie
3) Pocketful of Golden
4) Embrace Another Fall
5) Turn it Up
6) A Stolen Kiss
7) Somebody There
8) Poor Howard
9) House of Love
10) Up on the Hollow Hill (Understanding Arthur)
11) Arbaden (Maggie's Babby)