Thursday, 18 October 2012

Heart Fanatic Review

Classic Rock Radio Dot EU

Classic Rock Radio Dot EU - New Music from Classic Rockers
Topic: Heart - Fanatic (2012)

You don't know how happy I was to realize that I have nothing but good things to say about Heart's newest studio release; F
anatic. A notch up from their last couple studio releases. I've been paying close attention. Caught the Heart bug when Dreamboat Annie came out. I love the song Magic Man today, as much as I did when it first hit the airwaves. A fan ever since.

My first time seeing Heart in concert, was on my birthday in '77. The day / night Elvis Presley passed away. Heart was touring, 'Little Queen'. Was a fabulous show !! After that, I caught a couple of the '80's performances.

Last seen them live, here in Houston, back in '04. Lennon Murphy warmed up. A more mature Heart then the version I first saw from the forth row - center back in '77. Something was different. Ann and Nancy seemed to have lightened up their overall demeanor. The sisters appeared to be not only getting into their performances, and the audiences reactions, but seemed to honestly be having fun also. A fresh attitude so to say. Had a new studio out at the time; Jupiter's Darling. It was a solid effort. As was their last studio release; Red Velvet Car (2010). This time around...welcome back Heart; Ann & Nancy Wilson. The magic's back with; Fanatic.

I just checked out the set list for the string of current shows the bands been doing. I so want to go. Actually says a lot. Honestly, I've seen the ladies in concert, back when they were in their prime. How are they to beat the show I saw them do when they re-invented themselves with their self titled; Heart (1985). As an example. FYI: I saw them tour with Cheap Trick. Back in New Jersey. Under the stars. Speaking for the concert going group and myself, A GREAT time was had by all.

Touring this CD could very well be the BEST thing they done in decades. I hear songs that remind me very much so of their early period. There's something to make me think of their '80's (big hair) period. And very modern kick ass tunes to represent the year we're in; 2012.

The CD starts off hard rocking as all get out. Ann Wilson's voice sounding as strong as it ever did back in the '70's, is belting out the words. Sounding sexy also; "I'm just a fanatic", a line from the CDs title song.

The second song. All I can say is; "WOW." A very raw and funky groove indeed. Paced like a dirty blues song. Songs called; Dear Old America. "Hurricane's blowing..." Ann speaks. She's in complete control of this ride. Dare I say, a new greatest hit. Should be fun to experience in concert.

Track three includes performer; Sarah Ann McLachlan. Pleasant sounding acoustic song. Well done harmonies with Sarah. Ann Wilson gets credit for flute. I so dig that !!! Tunes called; 'Walkin' Good'.

'Skin And Bones' got this very cool funky 80's groove going on. I swear at first it sounds like a Prince song. I gave it a repeat play first time I played it thru. Has a good strut to it. The next song after as well; 'A Million Miles'. Ben E. Smith really stands out on this track. As does Ben Mink. If you're a lover of the the lute family, then you'll additionally love this. Yet another in a long list of cool things about Heart...they can rock with mandolins.

'Pennsylvania' again stands out as a song with superb harmonies.

'Mashallah!' is a hard rocking tune that could have came out of the '80's from this band. Ann's vocals are beyond strong. She's in perfect control, as is the band behind her. Ric Markmann yet again shows how good a bass player on this song he is. Consistent on the whole CD.

Track 8 is entitled; Rock Deep (Vancouver). In the same vain of Dog & Butterfly. Reminds me of that song anyway.

The second to last track on Fanatic is called; '59 Crunch'. Smith pounds at the drums. A good rockin' instrumental intro. A solid song.

This MIGHT be my favorite new Heart song. The last song on the CD (not including bonus songs). Has the vibe of an earlier Heart time. Yet again, another song that includes the mandolin. It also reminds me of Page & Plant's version of 'Kashmir' from their MTV Unplugged CD. Which is a cool thing.

Rating: Using the one to five star rating system, I give Heart's Fanatic: 5 stars !!! I have  played it more times than I could count since I picked it up. Incidentally a good reason for purchasing the actual CD from Best Buy is because the Best Buy version contained three bonus songs. All three rock and can't be any cooler, especially for bonus material. Nothing's weak.

The bonus songs made the total of songs contained on the CD; 13. Some might consider that number, bad luck. No need for Heart to worry about that. Simply, this is a solid record, start to finish.

When most classic rock bands are trying to find ways to still make it work, Heart thrust themselves into the year 2012, as much a hard working rock band today, as they were damn near 40 years ago (Dreamboat Annie coming out in 1976). This just past Summer, a box set was released; 'Strange Euphoria'. The Wilson sisters just came out with a book; Kicking and Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock and Roll. Heart is touring now with five new songs in the current set list. Heart also recently appeared for their first time on VH1 Classic's That Metal Show (along with Lita Ford). Now this excellent CD. Everything's coming up hearts. Very good for Ann & Nancy.

A long list of excellent supporting players over the years. I'll admit, I loved the original band. Frankly, Ann and Nancy's supporting line-up on the new CD / their 2012 touring band is as solid a line-up as the original Heart roster was. Plus they been together as a unit for sometime now. It shows. Frankly, I love this new CD. If a long time and dedicated Heart fan like myself, you certainly will NOT be disappointed with their newest hot release; Fanatic.

Note: All material on Fanatic written by; Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson, and Ben Mink. Produced by Ben Mink.

Catch the band -- support Fanatic. Check out their official websites for concert dates.

* GB *

Gary Brown (American Corespondent for CRR Dot EU)

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