REVIEW ROUNDUP: Robert Plant’s new solo album ‘Carry Fire’

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Robert Plant’s new solo album “Carry Fire” will be released on October 13, and reviews of the album are starting to be published. Here’s a roundup of every review we could find.

We’ll keep this post updated with new reviews as they’re published.

Classic Rock Magazine: 4 out of 5 stars

Reviewer David Stubbs said the album “represents a higher creative point than, say, his somewhat poodle-haired solo work of the early 1980s.” He said that Plant’s voice “has developed into something quite different with age: smoky, intimate, delicate, hankering, with none of the epic, blues-orientated screeching that was once his stock-in-trade.”

Stubbs concludes that “‘Carry Fire’ is about as good an album as we could reasonably expect from him in 2017.”

The Financial Times: 4 out of 5 stars

The Financial Times said in its brief review of “Carry Fire” that “Plant tenderly sings of passing seasons and last dances over the rolling drums and warm guitars of his Sensational Space Shifters backing band.”

Uncut Magazine: 9 out of 10

The magazine said that “in some respects, ‘Carry Fire’ is a continuation of its predecessor, though there is a change in tone.” It called the track “New World” a “thudding rocker” and said that “Season’s Song” is a “gentle ballad.”

And it said that the track “Heaven Sent” is “a coda that put’s the album’s lost-love theme in a wider context of heavenly blessings and brief lives, a tremulous torch ballad.”

The Arts Desk: 5 out of 5 stars

The Arts Desk said that “Carry Fire” is “an endlessly surprising album from an old rocker who will not go quietly, but ventures forth, as if each day were his first and last.”

It said that Plant’s guitarist Justin Adams is “way more than a match” for Jimmy Page and praised “Bluebirds Over the Mountains” as “a stand-out alchemical transformation of the more gentle original.”

Record Collector: 4 out of 5 stars

This review said that “Plan’s own production injects the material with a kind of sinister menace.” “Singer and band are in perfect synch throughout,” the review said, “the benefits of a lengthy and approaching telepathic relationship obvious for all to hear.”

The Independent: 4 out of 5 stars

The Independent said in its review of “Carry Fire” that “the album’s miasmic charm imbues even the rockabilly standard ‘Bluebirds Over The Mountain’ with new, mysterious depths.”

“Plant’s disarmingly understated vocal is characteristic of his approach throughout the album: only on ‘Bones Of Saints’, a damning blast at religious-rooted militarism, does he come close to unleashing his more leonine delivery,” the review said.

Las Vegas Weekly: 3 out of 5 stars

Las Vegas Weekly said that “Carry Fire” “sounds sleepier and more contemplative” than Plant’s previous solo album.

“‘Carry Fire’ has sparks of inspiration,” the review said, “but not enough to keep the flame burning for an entire album.”

The Evening Standard: 4 out of 5 stars

The Evening Standard described “Carry Fire” as “inventive and exotic.” It said that the album “proves Plant’s creative spark is still burning bright.”

The Irish Times: 4 out of 5 stars

The Irish Times said that Plant’s band are in “expansive form” on “Carry Fire.” It said that the album is “brooding, mysterious, full-blooded, fascinating. Electric and eclectic.”

Louder Than War: 6 out of 10

Louder Than War said in its review of “Carry Fire” that the album is “a sometimes brawny, sometimes trippy travelogue that brings together influences from West Africa, the South-West of England, the American West and the Middle East.”

The magazine said that “The May Queen” “embodies the best and worst of the album’s features.” It criticised the track for having a repetitive structure but said that it is “hypnotic and intense.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“The 69-year-old rock titan continues to age with leonine grace,” wrote The Philadelphia Inquirer in its “Carry Fire” review.

“This beautifully paced collection occasionally raises a ruckus,” it said, referencing the tracks “Carving Up the World Again,” “New World…” and “Bluebirds Over the Mountain.”

Associated Press: ‘Plant’s songwriting remains a class above, even as he nears 70’

The Associated Press’ review of “Carry Fire,” published on October 9, says that the album sees Plant “thrillingly exploring the same fascinating terrain of rootsy folk and achy blues.”

“The new album has Plant in a somewhat happier place and looking to the horizon,” it wrote, “perhaps becoming more political.”

Vulture: ‘Carry Fire further extends Plant’s voyage and reaffirms his mastery’

Vulture titled its review “On Carry Fire, Robert Plant Honors the Legacy of Led Zeppelin.” The publication gave a history of Plant’s solo career before saying that on “Carry Fire,” “Plant has come into his own.”

“Though his voice can’t reach the aching summits of his rock-star prime,” the review said, “in recompense he’s gained a lower, darker register, a tone ideally suited to evoke the wonder, and embody the weight, of passing time.”

Ultimate Classic Rock: ‘Plant … sounds right at home.’

News site Ultimate Classic Rock published its review of “Carry Fire” on October 5 and said that “Plant, too, is somewhat stuck in a place he’s visited before, but at least the familiar-sounding ‘Carry Fire’ journeys across the globe in search of those sounds.”

The site declined to give a rating to the album, but reviewer Michael Gallucci said it didn’t top Plant’s 2007 collaboration with Alison Krauss, “Raising Sand.”

Tight But Loose: ‘Being a Robert Plant fan remains a richly rewarding experience.’

Led Zeppelin magazine Tight But Loose reviewed “Carry Fire” for its 43rd issue and editor Dave Lewis posted the review online on October 5.

Lewis said in his review that “‘Carry Fire’ pretty much carries on from where Robert Plant’s previous album left off.”

“‘On Carry Fire’ there’s hardly a riff or a vocal histrionic in sight,” Lewis wrote. “Those that are looking for that kind of fix would be better off in the direction of the new Black Country Communion album.”

And Lewis said that “play it randomly a couple of times and it’s likely to pass over your head. Give it some dedicated listening time and there are some very rewarding performances.”

NPR: ‘It is a triumph of calibration’

NPR posted a “first listen” of “Carry Fire” on October 5 which included a review by Tom Moon. Moon said that the album “musically ventures further into the finely woven blend of folk, Celtic, blues and world music that defined his 2014 ‘lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar.'”

“‘Carry Fire’ is the polar opposite of music from death’s waiting room,” Moon wrote. “Through careful arrangements and a downright beautiful vocal capture, Plant and his collaborators create music that overflows with irrepressible life force.”

Uproxx: ‘Lyrically, ‘Carry Fire’ stacks up alongside some of the best albums of Plant’s long career’

This site said that “What ‘Carry Fire’ signals more than anything else is that Robert Plant is far from done.”

“Plant has remained the most vital artist of his generation by avoiding that impulse for three decades and counting. There’s no sign he’s about to flip the switch anytime soon,” it said.

No Depression: ‘Carry Fire is a worthy addition to Plant’s body of work’

Music magazine No Depression said in its review of “Carry Fire” that the album “integrates a range of themes, approaches, and tempos — at the center of which, of course, are Plant’s immediately recognizable and evocative vocals.”

It concludes by saying that “Carry Fire” is “a worthy addition to Plant’s body of work, a master vocalist and adept songwriter backed by a stellar group of musicians.”

“While Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters occasionally veer into moments of rock-and-roll roll shtick,” the review said, “the singer and band are, for the most part, consistently transportive, ushering a listener into realms of, well, maybe not manic nirvana, but close enough.”

The National: ‘Some 40 years on, Plant does indeed carry fire’

The National called “Carry Fire” ” an impressive return” in its review. “Forward-looking and vital-sounding, it proves a rock star’s passionate adjustment to his or her twilight years needn’t involve going down the crooning Great American Songbook route á la Rod Stewart or Bob Dylan.”

The Lexington Herald-Leader: ‘Many songs have an elemental foundation not unlike some of U2’s mid 1980s records.’

This local publication published its review online on October 9. Reviewer Walter Tunis described the album as “music with a largely incantatory feel.”

Tunis said that “many songs have an elemental foundation not unlike some of U2’s mid 1980s records. But the most striking difference between ‘Carry Fire’ and vintage Zeppelin is Plant’s singing, which seldom strays above a meditative whisper.

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3 Comments on "REVIEW ROUNDUP: Robert Plant’s new solo album ‘Carry Fire’"

  1. Reinelle Hicks | 9th October 2017 at 8:27 pm | Reply

    If you want to hear a new Led Zeppelin listen to Greta Van Fleet from Detroit on U tube. They are not a cover band and just released their 1st ep. They are 3 brothers, a set of twins, and one friend, the drummer. They are only 18 and 21 years old. The singer matches Robert in the ’70’s. He gives me chills just like Robert 45 years ago. Now you know how long I’ve been listening to Led Zeppelin and Robert. All Robert’s albums are fantastic and it’s us, the fans that matter, this is no exception.

  2. Robert Plant continues to be creative in every way. Every album he puts out is a new experience for his fans. He has been writing and performing for over 40 years now and he still maintains his unique musical style and superior voice that has so many characters . He is the ultimate Rock icon.

  3. It’s a good album. It should be coming from Robert Plant. But the hypnotic groove is getting a bit weary. It’s good. It’s just not great – where something just grabs hold with primal reach and doesn’t let go. But admittedly, I’d have to harken back to Calling To You to get that feel. Magic only happens sporadically . Good music is pretty much all the time these days. Part of the disconnect is that even with the space shifters, they are not a collective unit in the real time 24/7 world , except for when on tour. The studio albums are piece meal. He admits it. And it shows. Unless your limited to smoking weed,burning incense , and getting giddy over any new product just because of his legacy.
    The legacy aspect even pisses Plant off. He doesn’t want the expectation of Percy – not from the studio and not really on tour. But that’s the way it is. William Shatner was made for Kirk. Get the idea? If it’s Shatner, we expect Kirk.

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