Robert Plant's new album, Carry Fire, is out now. As with his 2014 album, lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar, it features his band The Sensational Space Shifters. They are also joined here by special guests, including Chrissie Hynde. NPR calls the album "transfixing ... rivetingly intimate." The New York Times calls it "a swirling mix of deep blues, mountain music, North African rhythms and Zeppelin-heavy weight." The AP says: "There are few undisputed rock stars this accomplished still taking musical risks. Plant’s songwriting remains a class above ... 'Out here the fire's still burning / So long into my night,' he sings. Long may it burn."
Robert Plant's new album, Carry Fire, is out now on Nonesuch/Warner Bros. Records. To pick up a copy, head to your local record store, iTunes, Amazon, and the Nonesuch Store, and listen now on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube.
The new album is "transfixing," exclaims NPR's Tom Moon. "Plant and his collaborators create music that overflows with irrepressible life force ... Carry Fire is rivetingly intimate."
"There are few undisputed rock stars this accomplished still taking musical risks," exclaims the Associated Press reviewer Mark Kennedy. "Plant’s songwriting remains a class above, even as he nears 70. 'Out here the fire's still burning / So long into my night,' he sings. Long may it burn."
Plant discussed the roots of the album with the New York Times' Jonathan Ringen, who calls it "a swirling mix of deep blues, mountain music, North African rhythms and Zeppelin-heavy weight ... The result is a heady, autumnal record, blending Mr. Plant’s early influences ... blues-fueled riffs, Berber sounds and Bristol trip-hop sonics."
American Songwriter, in a four-and-a-half-star review, says: "Plant continues down his remarkably innovative path on the combustible Carry Fire, further expanding an already eclectic, forward-thinking solo career ..." The Evening Standard exclaims in a four-star review: "Inventive and exotic, Carry Fire proves Plant’s creative spark is still burning bright."
"Carry Fire further extends Plant’s voyage and reaffirms his mastery," says New York magazine's Vulture. "There’s always been something deeply enviable about Plant’s voice, which summons, more or less without effort, a sense of sustained astonishment. Tipsy with its own abundance, it sifts through what it describes; one feels as if the material world has been passed through a filter until only the best things remain ... Plant has come into his own."
"Plant’s creative run over the last several decades has been frankly incredible," says the Uproxx reviewer Corbin Reiff. "[H]e's pieced together a catalog of music nearly unmatched by anyone from his peer group ... What’s more he uses his modern day instrument to stunning effect, lending each and every track on the record a certain sense of grace and gravitas." He goes on to say: "Lyrically, Carry Fire stacks up alongside some of the best albums of Plant’s long career."
"Plant's own production injects the material with a kind of sinister menace, with layers of instruments oozing over and under each other while the boss' vocals dramatically cut through the arrangements like a hot knife through butter," says a four-star Record Collector New Album of the Month review. "Singer and band are in perfect synch throughout, the benefits of a lengthy and approaching telepathic relationship obvious for all to hear."
Carry Fire, Robert Plant's eleventh solo album and first full-length release since 2014's acclaimed lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar, was produced by Plant in the west of England and Wales, at Top Cat studio in Box, Wiltshire with additional recordings at Real World and Rockfield studios. As with lullaby, Plant is accompanied by The Sensational Space Shifters: Justin Adams on guitar, acoustic guitar, oud, E-bow quartet, percussion, snare drum, tambourine; John Baggott on keyboards, moog, loops, percussion, drums, brass arrangement, t'bal, snare drum, slide guitar, piano, electric piano, bendir; Billy Fuller on bass, keyboards, and drum programming; Dave Smith on bendir, tambourine, djembe, drum kit; and Liam "Skin" Tyson on dobro, guitar, acoustic guitar, pedal steel, and twelve-string.
Plant and the Space Shifters are also joined on Carry Fire by a number of special guests. Chrissie Hynde joins Plant on the duet "Bluebirds Over the Mountain" (written by rockabilly legend Ersel Hickey and later recorded by both Richie Valens and The Beach Boys). Albanian cellist Redi Hasa performs on three tracks, as does the celebrated Seth Lakeman on viola and fiddle.
Plant and the band spent two years on the road together supporting lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar, their unique sound and vision ultimately evolving into something even more creative and powerful.
Plant, who lived in Texas for a time before returning to his native England three years ago, together with his friends, present the songs Carry Fire, melding unusual rhythms with naturalism and smoldering power.
"It's about intention, I respect and relish my past works but each time I feel the lure and incentive to create new work. I must mix old with new. Consequently the whole impetus of the band has moved on its axis somewhat, the new sound and different space giving way to exciting and dramatic landscapes of mood, melody and instrumentation."
lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar made top 10 debuts around the globe upon its release, from the US's SoundScan/Billboard 200 to album charts in Belgium, Canada, Finland, Hungary, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
Along with its international commercial appeal, lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar drew rave reviews from such high profile media outlets as NPR Music, which named it to their 50 Favorite Albums of 2014, noting, that Plant "is still a majestic rock presence, at peace with the legacy of his hard-rock-defining band Led Zeppelin, while remaining relentlessly creative in his solo work … [The album] lovingly layers elements in ways that mirror memory, creating new constructs from floating shards of the musical past." "Robert Plant knows where rock's past begins and he's pulling it into the future," wrote the Wall Street Journal while the New York Times praised the singer's "otherworldly voice: sustained, androgynous, balanced between serenity and ache."
Britain's Guardian declared lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar to be "fantastic: gritty, dark, and satisfying" while also making special mention of Plant's "hugely impressive backing band, the Sensational Space Shifters… There's something almost alchemical about their ability to draw together incongruent musical influences into something coherent and exciting." Pitchfork called lullaby "the most bravely confessional writing of his career."