Album Review: Robert Plant, "Manic Nirvana"

You can't keep a good man down and that applies to Mr. Robert Plant. Percy's back with a follow-up to Now And Zen. This isn’t predictable, radio-friendly corporate rock. Percy might be on the wrong side of 40 but he's always been willing to experiment and tune into a diverse range of styles.

One moment we're presented with a series of counter-melodies, then next some stop/start funk-rock workouts like Your Ma Said You Cried In Your Sleep Last Night…and then it's Woodstock revisited for Tie Dye On The Highway, which is very clever and well executed.

Percy also makes a few passing nods, usually humorous ones, in the direction of Led Zeppelin. The atmospheric Anniversary of Love's Decay, one of the album's outstanding tracks, includes a military snare-drum, feverish blues guitar and Plant's vocals become seriously anguished. Plant's still one of the leading exponents of the epic as a track like Watching You testifies – complete with the sampled Arabian chants! Percy Plant also produced his album and he creates a rich, cinematic soundscape. Some credit is to Phil Johnstone, Plant's keyboardist and co-writer on much of the album. You may find that this platter isn't immediately accessible, but stick with it and it will reveal its many treasures.

Mark Liddell
Riff Raff
May, 1990
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