I like to believe that my reviews are highly scrupulous, and that I am not easily intimidated.
But, when one is 9 hours from home by plane, and one’s beloved warns from said home (via a blog comment no less) that you must give an album a “brilliant review”, one does feel a little compromised.
Of course, I think all my reviews border on brilliance, but not all albums I review do.
I can say I was surprised and intrigued in listening through this third Zep opus. The band have revealed themselves to be much less rocky and much more exploratory than I first thought. While the album isn’t quite as hit heavy as the previous two, it is much more consistent in sound and quality.
The album has a killer opener in Immigrant Song, with a Robert Plant’s banshee howl one of the best welcome vocals ever:
The following Friends has some signature swirling guitar work, and Celebration Day sounds like the boys have been invited along to some party with Janis Joplin.
There is a welcome absence of much hobgoblin action on here (I’m not sure the vikings above count), but a welcome repeat of the blues tribute schtick with the excellent closer Hats Off to (Roy) Harper which frontporch blues of the highest order (with requisite tincan vocals).
I agree with her indoors that this is the best of the LZ albums thus far, and it is a grower too.
File under: Third time’s no harm