Review: Heart – Fanatic (vinyl LP)

HEART – FANATIC (October 2012)
Judging by the cover and the fact it was pressed to vinyl, I was hoping the new HEART record Fanatic would live up to to my expectation. Would this be a HEART record that rocked?

Fanatic – Title track did not let me down. Not at all over-produced. Vocals and guitar right up front. Drums lay down a solid groove.

Dear Old America – A bouncy rocker with strings with a decidedly Mellotron-style arrangement. (you don’t get more 70′s that using a Mellotron.)

Walkin’ Good – bust out the acoustic and bring down the tempo. Interestingly, the energy is not gone. Strong melody and harmonies on the pre-chorus and chorus. Reminds me of Aimee Mann (one of my favorites). Well, maybe it reminds me of Sarah McLachlan who is featured on the song. That makes sense.

Skin and Bones – A groovy, driving number. When the guitars kick in after the 1st verse, it totally kicked me in the face. Great tune!

Million Miles – Starts off with computerized drum & guitar loop. So far, the most “produced” track. And then the band kicks in on the chorus. It’s a smart blend of the technical & distortion. A great rocker.

Pennsylvania - Time to chill after having socks rocked off. I find the eerie backing bgvs the most interesting.

Mashallah - Yeah, this is a cool, driving tune! When Ann belts out “Mashallah!” swiming in echo… I got chill bumps.

Rock Deep (Vancouver) – a true ballad. I would be tempted to skip… except that it’s really good. The build up was strong enough to make me wish it wasn’t ending.

59 Crunch – “Crunch” is an appropriate word to describe the guitar that kicks off another rocker.

Corduroy Road – A nice way to end a very strong record. Nothing weak here. I love the string arrangement in the chorus, bridge and the ending. Nice dynamics. Again, I would’ve been totally happy if this song was longer and built even bigger. I would’ve loved to hear them go crazy on it. But I bet they save that for the live show.

I confess that, while I have appreciated the HEART of the 70′s, I have note immersed myself into them. Partly because I was more familiar with their 80′s material. Which was appropriate for the music of the day, but it didn’t turn me on. I can say, without reservation, I am a fan of “Fanatic” from start-to-finish! It makes me want to delve into their discography now and see what I’ve been missing all these years. And the vinyl sounds fantastic! It sounded so big. But it also includes an MP3 code so you can take the rock ‘n’ roll with you. Then there’s the performance of the Wilson sisters – wow! I believe they could keep their sound strong for a couple more decades. So, rock on, ladies, rock the f* on! I will be paying attention now.

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