Picks and Pans Review: Shaken 'n' Stirred
The title of Plant's third solo album is a wordplay on James Bond's classic order: "A very dry martini, shaken not stirred." Actually if Plant's music were a cocktail, it would be more like a Harvey Wall-banger or an Alabama Slamma. Plant has again fashioned a sneaky collection of songs that are captivating and pungent. He uses the same helpers as on his previous LPs, Pictures at Eleven and The Principle of Moments: Robbie Blunt on guitar, Paul Martinez on bass and Jezz Woodroffe on keyboards. Ritchie Hayward has replaced Phil Collins, who has 80 or 90 other irons in the fire, on drums. Plant's songs may wander and seem dreamily remote, but usually he slips in an unexpected wrinkle on his melody. While Principle of Moments offered his unique reworking of blues riffs, Shaken 'n' Stirred represents a Plantian dance hop. Little by Little, for instance, is anchored by Martinez's solid bass line. Too Loud is a daft perspective on a rapper's gab. Doo Doo a Do Do sounds closer to Led Zeppelin than anything Plant has done since the band broke up in 1980. Back then it didn't seem Plant was likely to bring off his solo career. He had always appeared to embody Zep's Hobbit-minded preoccupations with the mystical. And Plant's voice, while spirited, was quirky. But he's done all right for himself, thank you, with his albums and the success of last year's Honeydrippers LP, on which he sang. Robert Plant is going to turn into a major star before we know it. (Atlantic)
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