It should be stated: this is my favourite record Plant’s ever signed his name to.
Darrell Scott may wax his lap steel guitar to its most opaque or Byron House may whack his bass guitar into didgeridoo-type drones or Marco Giovino inhabits each cut with on-beat percussion or Patty Griffin and Bekkah Bramlett may sing like spectres on the end of Plant’s lower register or Buddy Miller may manage to wrap it all into nice package with a cute li’l bow n’ all, it still sounds like this is the re-reburnishing of a car marque for a car that’s not quite all figured out yet.
No joke: the first side of this record sucks so bad it ruins the entire album.
Throughout Carry Fire, some coals burn hotter than others, but none flameout. Instead, they move through the skin with the comfort of a warm winter treat, a hot chocolate for the soul.
Plant’s voice, thus, moved from black women wailing and tall tales of a rambler to the slow, low burning insights of a man who has seen the rock ‘n’ roll world for all it’s worth, all it’s false promise, all it’s real excess.
That creature is Robert Plant. In the water is Dreamland. As a record, it is a question. As an answer, it is a word: yes.
No Quarter put an end to a Robert’s dawdling career. It’s a reenergizing return to roots filled with mixing eastern and western influences, the sweet sound of Page’s guitar and grandiose orchestrations.