RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters – Lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roar

Rating: A

You’ve probably heard the tried and true expression “Necessity is the mother of invention”, well in the case of legendary vocalist Robert Plant’s solo career, that should read “Necessity is the mother of reinvention”. Ever since his former band (do we really have to mention them by name?) unexpectedly and cruelly blew up almost thirty five years ago, Plant has continuously and bravely forged ahead by pushing the sonic  envelope, adding more colors and textures to his impressive and always expanding musical tapestry with each new project. His latest effort with new band The Sensational Space Shifters entitled Lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roar ,once again finds Plant touching on a plethora of different musical styles and weaving it all together effortlessly into what can only be called his finest and most well rounded effort to date.

The album kicks off in splendid fashion with “Little Maggie”, which blissfully comes across as a Celtic, meets African, meets American folk and blue grass hoedown. From there it’s a wild and truly engaging ride that never ceases to amaze over the course of the next ten songs. After listening to tracks like “Pocketful of Golden”, the multi-textured “Embrace Another Fall” and the scorching blues /electroncia mash up of “Turn It Up”, it’s glaringly obvious that at sixty six years young, Plant is still not content to rest on his laurels, but then when has he ever? What about those golden pipes you ask? Although far removed from his “Ooooooh, Ooooooh, baby!” days, his vocal delivery is certainly more restrained and nuanced, but I’ll be damned if it still doesn’t possess hearty amounts of that slick, velvety sheen that we’ve all come to love. As a result he naturally shines on the slower, more reflective sounding tracks “Somebody There”, “House Of Love” and the truly heart melting piano ballad “A Stolen Kiss”.

Robert Plant has to be admired for the amount of risks he’s taken over the course of his solo career and in my mind, other than perhaps David Bowie, what other veteran musician can you think of who has escaped irrelevance like the Golden God? The older he gets, the more he seems to have successfully separated and distanced himself from his past (i.e. Zeppelin) either intentionally or not, by not limiting himself musically. It has truly made for some fantastic and diverse listening all these years, and with Lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roar, he just seems to keep getting better and better at what he does.

By Ryan Sparks