Robert Plant – Carry Fire

Robert’s first album since 2014 opens with “May Queen”, a bluesy voice and some rattling acoustic guitars.

By Ursula Ní Chléirigh

The drums are simple but there is a plethora of strings including violins. The songs ends with an electronic sound which subtlety continues throughout the album. The album is undoubtedly a commentary on recent world events with tales of love dashed between the lines. Robert said of the album: “They’re universal issues that have no particular time of beginning and don’t look like they’re ever going to end. They’re the events of our time, but they’re the events of our forefather’s time. You can’t ignore them. You can only comment on them.” In “Season’s Song”, Plant sounds like he is singing a smooth love song to a muse that he has been enchanted by for a long time against simple guitars and a noticeable bass. The album becomes more psychedelic as it progresses, with “Dance With You Tonight” reminiscent of the Velvet Underground. It speaks of a mature love. “Carving Up the World Again…” refers to yes that wall and our troubled politically turbulent times. With its obligatory psychedelic guitar solo, we can’t get enough of this 60s vibe at this point!

Perhaps there’s hope though, as Plant muses alongside a piano track in the next song: “The seasons turn, once again our world will change”. Although it sounds mostly like a love song, one wonders if it about a nation/planet rather than a person. The title track “Carry Fire” breaks away a little from the bluesy theme with a catchy Indian vibe… Again Robert lovingly laments: “I’d carry fire for you, here in my naked hands, I’d bare my heart to you, if you will understand”. Next Robert mentions the “garden of Eden” in the faster paced “Bones of Saints”, simultaneously asking “who sells the guns”. We were once in the garden of Eden here on earth, or are we ignoring the fact that we have a garden of Eden right here that we need to salvage, the garden of our ancestors and saints?

The psychedelic theme continues and the heavy blues in “Bluebirds over the mountain”, Plant’s duet with Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders almost reminds me of Mark Lanegan’s covers (what a collaboration that would be!) in that I’d rather listen to this heavy version!

The album ends with “Heaven Sent” – it starts with Spooky sounding strings and Robert is finishing this story. It seems like a tale of peace and love eventually overcoming our troubles. Robert never left the 60s and now he wants to take us back! Hopefully Robert is doing more than just commenting, but moulding our minds to think forward towards healing our world.

Carry Fire by Robert Plant is out now.