Searching Robert Plant AND The Sensational Space Shifters and Their New Album

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By the fifth track, “Turn It Up,” Plant comes back to himself and the next couple are pure Plant, but the first four tracks are a mix of Celtic and U2, almost to the point of being disorienting to those of us expecting the old Plant.  That has to be a good thing though, some experimentation in 2014. The tunes we expect of him, such as “Somebody There” and “Up on The Hollow Hill (Understanding Arthur)” are that much more rewarding in contrast to the stray material; both are brilliant Plant songs and belong in any canonical representation of his work.

So what about the rest?

Some songs may be disorienting for Plant fans, such as the reprise of the fully Celtic “Little Maggie,” “Abraden (Maggie’s Babby),” which is a sort of mix of The Chieftains and Steve Miller Band—not a bad thing in the end, either.  “Pocket Full of Golden” is another Chieftains kind of thing, but then “Embrace Another Fall” comes in, with its positive message, and Celtic-Plant fusion and it makes you think this all may be going somewhere pretty good.  And you would be right to think so.

Where is It and How Did it Get There?

Sensational Space Shifters are a very good band and Plant does not overpower them so much as he is a band member playing with them. Once you realize that, the album is good to go. Just as there are times when it sounds as if The Chieftains elbow their way to the front of the stage, there are songs such as“Turn It Up” where it seems Plant shakes off the Celtic mantle and takes centre stage—but on the whole the album is that of a band, rather than a Plant solo album.

“House of Love” may be the best example of the fusion of these influences that make up Lullaby and...The Ceaseless Roar, Plant’s tenth solo album. If you are looking for Plant all alone, and contemplative, “A Stolen Kiss” would be the place to look for him.  Visually, it has to be an empty ballroom with a grand piano and the evening colours of the setting sun distorting the room, Plant contemplating it fading away at the keys. “A Stolen Kiss” may have been better as the closing song as it might get overlooked in the middle of the album, but if you are looking for something to think about it is the place to be.

 

AH