Robert Plant - Band of Joy
WERS 88.9 FM - album review: robert plant - band of joy
WERS' Album of the Month for October is Robert Plant's
Band of Joy (2010, Rounder Records), and we sure know how to pick 'em.
The album, named for Plant
's first band in 1960, covers some new territory for Plant, but hints at his
musical past (and with more than the title's source material).
It has an incredible throwback feel to it, and while it might not be the Led Zeppelin throwback some diehards were hoping for, Plant
doesn't leave anything out.
This time around, though, Plant
is more or less on his own, as Griffin plays a wonderful background vocalist, but little more.
Also unlike Sand, Plant
does not hold back in order to give the whispery folk treatment to these tracks, belting on the single "Angel Dance.
On "Central Two-O-Nine," Plant's
voice swings over strumming steel guitars, the effect of which is an undeniably American track (which isn't bad for an Englishman).
In fact, the entire album is American: Plant
does American better than most Americans do.
The track "You Can't Buy My Love," a Barbara Lynn cover, is a drum-heavy cut that features more Griffin than many of the other tracks, and sounds more contemporary than the rest of Joy.
It's one of the standout tracks on the album, if for Plant's impromptu hoots and hollers alone.
For "Falling in Love Again," Plant brings back the breathy croon he's
mastered since Raising Sand.
The final track on the album, "Even This Shall Pass Away," is also the most tripped out in terms of instrumentation, going from the folky Plant
that we see on most of the tracks to the belting, frenzied Plant we've been missing.
It's the only tune on the album that doesn't seem to fit the genres covered before it, but it's also the only track that seems to hint that vintage Robert Plant
is still in there somewhere.
The transition Plant has made as an artist over his
career seems to be summed up in one song, ending where he
The track serves as a reminder that, while Plant seems content in the Americana realm, he's ready to continue his evolution as an artist.