Album review

Robert Plant : Dreamland
Mercury Records

Robert Plant : DreamlandAlways great to hear an album that is more than superficial meanderings. Then again, when you're Robert Plant, you can afford the luxury of doing anything you like, just about whenever you feel like doing it. What's an even greater pleasure is listening to a true professional pay homage to his own influences in a manner which does them justice.
    So, not content with regurgitating his influences, Plant has restructured and reinvented - and not in a Tim Burton stylee - some of his favourite tracks from the past. With the luxury of actually being Robert Plant, he has also given his band the opportunity to shine through, giving Dreamland a fuller and very rounded aspect. To be quite frank, how could anybody be disappointed with such a labour of love as this? If we could go back to when artists recorded a couple of these a year, the world would be in fine shape.

But where to start the social commentary? Well, Dreamland features a very brave working of Hey Joe that doesn't render it as unrecognisable as someone suggested, but merely gives it a slant nobody had bothered looking at before. It's still Joe though.
    One More Cup Of Coffee from the camp of Dylan is absolutely enchanting, as is Song To The Siren - a well loved Tim Buckley song . . . at least among Buckley enthusiasts.
    If the album does little more than encourage belligerent purchasing of 60s and 70s classics, then I guess it's done half its job. The crowning glory of Dreamland is undoubtedly Darkness, Darkness, which practically sways in the wind it's so tall and cool.
    There are also three new tracks on display, with two; Last Time I Saw Her and Dirt In The Hole confirming - surely once and for all - that Plant is at the top of his game. At the end of the day, Dreamland is a grower.

:: Sion Smith

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