Heart – Fanatic
(2012, Sony Music/Legacy Recordings)
2. Dear Old America
3. Walkin’ Good
4. Skin and Bones
5. Million Miles
8. Rock Deep (Vancouver)
9. 59 Crunch
10. Corduroy Road
Ann Wilson – Lead Vocals, Flute, Backing Vocals
Nancy Wilson – Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals, Backing Vocals
Ric Markmann – Bass
Ben Smith – Drums
Sarah McLachlan – Vocals, Backing Vocals
Ben Mink – Banjo, Guitar, Keyboards, Mandolin, Organ, Strings, Viola, Violin, Backing Vocals
Producer: Ben Mink
When I first saw the album cover, I thought maybe this was some forgotten late ’80s/early ’90s release or at least a low budget compilation. It’s a very bland cover, from the font to the B&W photo of Ann & Nancy, but I’m just being nit-picky.
Heart has had sort of a mini-comeback in the last few years. They’ve been touring successfully, their live shows are very good, Red Velvet Car received good reviews and debuted in the Billboard Top 10 (and has gone on to sell something like 100k copies, I think), they released a four-disc box set earlier this year and have released a memoir called Kicking & Screaming: A Story of Heart. They are also getting inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. Keeping up with this flurry of activity, it was natural that only two years after Red Velvet Car they’d release a follow-up. Fanatic is said to be somewhat of a companion piece to the Wilson’s memoir, with each song being inspired by their personal lives & experiences.
I’ve seen mixed reviews for this album but then again I saw that for Red Velvet Car as well. Heart keeps doing their own thing while the rest of the world either wants them to return to their ’70s hard rock roots or their ’80s pop/rock style. They continue to do their own thing, though they are closer to their ’70s material than their ’80s work. I highly doubt we’ll ever hear a big slick commercial power ballad from them ever again. Instead, they’d rather give us acoustic-based melancholy songs.
But as I said, they actually rock out when they want to. “Fanatic”, “Dear Old America” and “Mashallah” retain that classic Zep-influenced Heart sound while remaining modern just like the previous album’s “WTF”. And “59 Crunch” sounds downright grungy at times. Must be something in that Seattle water. Personally, there are too many slow moments on this album for me, something that Red Velvet Car had but they pulled it off better on that album.
Overall, there’s a handful of good tracks here but I’m disappointed in comparison to their last release.
Highlights: “Fanatic”, “Dear Old America”, “Mashallah”, “59 Crunch”