Album Reviews | Robert Plant – lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar (2014)

Raising SandI can’t get over how good this album is, since given Robert Plant‘s age, there isn’t much reason to expect much of anything good from him these days. Then again, he shared an Album of the Year win with Alison Krauss for their 2007 collaboration Raising Sand, so maybe the elevated quality of lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar shouldn’t have been so unexpected after all, particularly since it mines a similar sonic vein. The material presented here is pretty far removed from Led Zeppelin, but then again, it’s been decades since he fronted the legendary hard rock band, which parted ways upon drummer John Bonham’s death in 1980. Occasionally, the softer, more folky side of Zeppelin bubbles to the surface on lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar, but more often than not, Plant presents a considerably developed act that can function quite well independently of his former role in one of the world’s biggest bands.

Believe it or not, Plant has been releasing solo records since 1982. I was certainly unaware of this fact until recently — it’s the kind of career only people who write about music know about, it would seem. Then again, perhaps this record received considerably more press thanks to its release on Warner Music Group subsidiary Nonesuch. (His most recent output, including Raising Sand, was on Krauss’ label Rounder.) Anyway, regardless of whether I was searching for it more intently or whether it was promoted more intensely, I bought lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar on iTunes — it’s not on Spotify — after reading Tom Erlewine’s review on AllMusic, and have come to enjoy it quite a bit. Although some of the slower songs drag (“A Stolen Kiss”), there are some standout tracks here (“Little Maggie,” “Embrace Another Fall,” “Somebody There”), particularly in the first half. Plant settles on an interesting sound here: it’s too heavy for country, too rocking for folk, but it’s not quite like anything else in rock or pop either. I expect this one to be a grower.


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