HEART – Fanatic (2012)

HEART - Fanatic (2012)


You’d think that by now I wouldn’t be surprised when HEART (fronted since 1975 by vocalists, instrumentalists, songwriters, sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson) release another new album and it’s just as fresh and vibrant as their first one, Dreamboat Annie in 1976.

But how do they do that? That was 36 years, 14 albums and hundreds of live concerts ago!

Right now, I’m listening to “Fanatic” (release date 10/02/12) and I still can’t figure out how they do it. But they do, and that’s really all that matters.

Seriously. How?

Like all Heart albums, “Fanatic” delivers a range of styles (once again bringing up the how-do-they-do-that question) making each seem a perfectly natural fit for them.

Want some good ol’ Heart hard rock? You’ve get it right from the top with the title song.

Then there’s “Mashalla” (pronounced mosh-uh-LAH) and “59 Crunch.” Both cause me to wonder, as Ann hits the high notes with as much strength as she did in 1976, how can she still do that?

Blues rock, anyone? “Corduroy Road” will please you. Progressive? “A Million Miles” has more than a hint of it. Feeling folk-y? Try “Walkin’ Good,” to which Sarah McLachlan lends vocals and blends with Ann and Nancy so well, you’d think she was another Wilson sister.

Ballad-style story songs? “Rock Deep (Vancouver)” and “Pennsylvania” are here.

If they gave an award for best use of a string section on a rock album, “Fanatic” would win it. There’s strings and acoustic guitar (“Walkin’ Good”); strings and fuzzed up electric slide guitar (“Good Old America”).

Thematically, “Fanatic” continues the theme established with 2010’s Red Velvet Car, with a predominance of autobiographical themes.

“Rock Deep (Vancouver)” recounts Heart’s earliest days when they were making it big in Canada and wondering if they’d ever be able to break through south of the border.

“Dear Old America” comes directly from the Wilson sisters’ upbringing as military brats, daughters of a Marine Corps officer dad. “Walkin’ Good” is about what Ann calls Nancy’s devotion to ‘the idea of love and especially the idea of romantic love. There is no way you could ever convince her that it’s not real’.

It’s hard to pick favorites. “Fanatic” is one of those rare few albums which you enjoy to listen from beginning to end, because it’s resumed to 10 good songs, not 14 with the risk of fillers.

You have the best of both worlds; Classic Heart and some new grounds.

I really like “Mashallah” probably because it reminds of early favorites like ‘Crazy on You’ and ‘White Lightning and Wine’. But then I like ‘A Million Miles’ for precisely the opposite reason: musically, it isn’t something you would expect, which makes it all the more fun.

And I like “Fanatic” just because it such a good serving of that distinctive genre I call Heart rock.

They did it in the mid-70s, and in every decade since. They did (and do) it in their own unique way. They do it as well today as they did all those years ago. How do they do it? Don’t know, don’t care. Just very glad that they’re still doing it, and hope they’ll do it again soon.

World Premiere – You’ve seen it first here, at 0dayrockz

01 – Fanatic

02 – Dear Old America

03 – Walkin’ Good” (feat. Sarah McLachlan)

04 – Skin And Bones

05 – A Million Miles

06 – Pennsylvania

07 – Mashallah

08 – Rock Deep (Vancouver)

09 – 59 Crunch

10 – Corduroy Road

Ann Wilson – vocals, keyboards, percussion

Nancy Wilson – vocals, guitars, mandolin, keyboards, synths

Ben Smith – drums

Craig Bartock – guitars

Debbie Shair – keyboards, synthesizers

Dan Rothchild – bass

HEART - Fanatic (2012) back cover



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