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Band Of Joy (Rounder)
The question on everyone’s mind is whether Robert Plant can repeat the triumph of his Grammy Award-winning Alison Krauss collaboration, Raising Sand, with his newest foray into Americana. Well, the good news is that if you loved the last instalment, you’ll like this one. The bad news is that you probably won’t love it.
Nashville icon Buddy Miller had done an amazing job producing. He infuses the disc with a ton of murky atmosphere, and manages a careful balancing act between rootsy and modern. It’s impossible not to be impressed by the rich tones and unconventional arrangements.
Plant’s vocals are subtle and restrained throughout, which suits the introspective mood but also turns out to be the weak point. In a bid to refrain from Led Zeppelin histrionics, he’s gone a little too far in the opposite direction. It’s nice that he’s managed to keep things tasteful, but instead of quiet intensity, it comes across more as overly cautious and timid – not exactly what he was aiming for. Still, it’s far more adventurous than what most of his contemporaries are churning out.
Top track: Even This Shall Pass Away