Originally published in Calgary Sun
by Mike Bell
It’s been almost a decade since Robert Plant’s last solo album, Fate of Nations, and, to be perfectly honest, he hasn’t really been missed except by the most true-blue Zep heads who got their nostalgia fix with the Page & Plant albums, anyway.
It’s surprising and welcoming that he should then choose to return to the solo route with a whisper, not a bang.
Dreamland is a wonderfully earthy album of bluesy roots songs that’s as subdued as his past efforts have been flamboyant.
The disc is simple and, at times, breathtakingly honest in its delivery, thanks to that scaled-back approach, a band that paints a remarkably textured backdrop, well-chosen songs — many of which are covers — and Plant’s vocals that wring every last drop of emotion and truth from the material.
From the charged, simple groove of The Youngbloods’ Darkness, Darkness and the menacing, unnerving and remarkably invigorating rendition of Hey Joe, to a world-weary and dreamy attempt at Dylan’s One More Cup of Coffee and, finally, his version of the Tim Buckley classic Song to the Siren, Plant puts his stamp on every track he touches.
It’s been a while, but Dreamland is an album that, for Zep heads and fans of roots and blues, should not be missed.
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