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Robert Plant – Manic Nirvana

The album cover belies the contents. Here, he looks like the Golden God, and the cover promises great rock and majesty within. And is it there? Well…

No. Not really. Not in the way I expected, which was big guitars and drums and that wailing good time that only Plant’s voice can incite.

What we get, instead, is a collection of tightly/thinly-produced cheesy 80s rock songs (in 1990!). Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Clearly that was what they were going for, with this one.

We all know Hurting Kind (I’ve Got My Eyes On You). It typifies that sound I’m hearing. Big Love is slinky fun. Actually the intro sounds like Alannah Myles’ Rock This Joint’s riff. Was this around the time they were banging? Coincidence?

S S S & Q (a dumb title) is 80s rock. I Cried is one I liked, it has a cool build. She Said is more cheesy 80s. Nirvana is an OK tune but those guitars… Also, I hear a faster Negative Creep in that brief intro – was this lifted? An homage? They’re both from around the same time. Weird.

Tie Dye The Highway is a cool, mid-tempo groove. This is better. Your Ma Said You Cried In Your Sleep Last Night is one I didn’t like until 1:55, when it becomes OK. But it’s still too long, overall. Anniversary is the second tune in a row wasting too much time bulding, but here the pay-off is alright. I liked the guitar.

Liars Dance is an album highlight, an acoustic blues/vocal thing that immediately drew my ear. Yes! And lastly it’s Watching You, an interesting, pounding thing with middle eastern vocal accents.

In sum? That voices saves a lot of the meh music here. I think the riffs were strong but they got buried and lost in the overall sound. I won’t need to play most of this very often.

And you may wonder at me thinking Plant lifted things from other bands. Why should he have to, he’s ROBERT PLANT! But let’s be serious here, folks, how close were Led Zeppelin to their influences? One wonders.

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