Robert Plant Bewitches on ‘Lullaby and…The Ceasless Roar’

Lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar is the tenth solo album from legendary rock singer Robert Plant, and the first on which he is joined by artful backing band The Sensational Space Shifters.  Plant’s delivery is romantically mellow throughout the album, and being supported by a mix of electronic and exotic instruments results in many grand, harmonious moments.  The instrument choices, which range from the tribal kologo and riti to the modern moog bass and omnichord, light the flame that illuminates Plant’s storyteller tone, and frequently emphasize his now-more-subtle vocal power.

“Little Maggie” (a Stanley Brothers cover) opens with truly unique string sounds that play off the drums cleverly as the bass thumps and as Plant softly sings with a folky tinge in his voice. A very busy, fun, and experimental beginning track leads into the amazingly simple and drastically effective “Rainbow.” The pounding drum beat drives the song along with a delicately strummed guitar, and Plant’s chorus of oh’s soar amidst his heartfelt verses, “I found a lucky charm / I dressed it up with love / I crossed the Seven Seas to you / Will it be enough? / And I will be a rainbow / Oh, while your storm is gone / And I will bring the song for you / And I will carry on.”  Immediately shifting gears again, “Pocketful of Golden” brings in crazy strings and more active bass lines. The repeating string section in this song is awesome and brings something more peculiar to Plant’s extensive musical palette.

Some blues and soul roots show up in “Turn It Up,” one of Plant’s best showcases of high range and emotional intensity, while the band brings in a steady beat that is blown up by a massive guitar riff at select moments. The song ends trudging and feeling ghostly, as Plant’s voice echoes “Turn it up” among somewhat dissonant guitar chords.  “Somebody There” is another upbeat track with a floating chorus, where Plant’s voice feels and sounds as youthful as ever.  The guitars play some really uplifting parts while also throwing in subtle string bends and shrieking moments.  The album wraps up with more interesting mixes of electronics and earthly instruments, “Up On The Hollow Hill” does so abstractly, and “Arbaden” sounds like it belongs being chanted around some type of campfire-turned-nightclub.

Time has brought less less intense, feverish moments that were Plant’s early staple, but his voice is still top-notch and his songwriting is remains emotionally-charged.  He also has a fantastic ear for finding the best backing bands around, because The Sensational Space Shifters showcase some stuff that has never been done while working in unison with Plant’s familiar voice.  Their venture into pairing the synthetic and the natural pays off on this record, and they truly provide the soundscape of the digital fire that glows around Plant’s voice.

Order Lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar physically here or on iTunes.  Watch the music video and a live performance of “Rainbow” below!

 

2 Comments

  1. Katie Antonsson

    September 16, 2014 at 10:06 am

    So glad to hear he’s still on top of his game! It’s weird to hear him singing over a different band, but it does work pretty nicely.

  2. Lauren Silvestri

    September 17, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Robert Plant really can’t do any wrong, I’m so glad he is still making music and he sounds great!

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