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Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti CD (album) cover


Led Zeppelin


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4.05 | 935 ratings

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3 stars Physical Graffiti 3/5

Well here goes, another difficult album for me to point a definitive finger on. Nonetheless I do feel there is a great wealth to be found on this album. However, as always, Led Zeppelin gives the listener a hogpog of ideas and styles, some of which are developed. Contrary to popular opinion, this album isn't strictly divided between the great songs on Disc 1 and the throwouts on Disc 2. Consistent with popular belief is the wide range of inconsistencies within this album. There are a wide variety of genres explored, from straight up hard rock, eastern influenced tunes, and rock and roll numbrs. However, it is not nearly as progressive as the previous three albums, returning somewhat to a refined heaviness relative to their first releases.

The band convened in 1974, writing 8 new songs. Strangely enough, the songs stretched a bit over the traditional space required for one LP. They then decided it would be in their best interest and the interest of their fans to include some previously unreleased tracks from prior sessions. However, what they failed to realize is if they just edited 'In My Time Of Dying' in half and ditched 'Sick Again', they may have been able to give us a single LP of new material.

For the better, the older songs were added to this album. And thus we get 'Bron Yr Aur' from the III, 'Night Flight', 'Boogie With Stu' and 'Down By the Seaside' from IV, and lastly 'The Rover', 'Houses of the Holy' and 'Black Country Woman' from Houses of the Holy. These songs are intermixed with the newer tunes; frankly only 'Kashmir', 'In the Light', 'Ten Years Gone' are essential from these new compositions. The rest seem very to be derivative and uninspired hard rock in my eyes.

Oddly enough, the older tracks are the highlights. 'The Rover' featuring one of Jimmy's most transcedent solos, 'Houses of the Holy' providing much a much needed breath of fresh air to the uptight and rigid hard rock that surrounds it. 'Down By the Seaside' and 'Fly By Night' are two tracks worthy of recognition as well, great use of keyboards in these pieces and I only wish they would have been on IV instead of 'Four Sticks' and 'Misty Mountain Hop'. The same could be said about the aforementioned tracks from the Houses of the Holy sessions.

'Kashmir' and 'In the Light' are fine examples of eastern influenced songs, and are they great songs! Kashmir has the famous riff, made heavy by the orchestra strings and JPJ's keyboard bridges. Plant shows us he still can weave a marvelous story, sing as well as 'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You' or 'Stairway to Heaven' he does not though. 'In the Light' features great keyboards by JPJ and one of the simplest yet most effective solos from Page, wonderfully layered and perfectly timed.

The weakest parts of this album as previously mentioned are the hard rock songs, essentially these are by-the-book 70's Rock tunes. I much preferred the band falling flat on their face with straight reggae and funk on Houses of the Holy than merge clavinet induced Hard-Funk on 'Trampled Underfoot.' Also, Robert's voice is nowhere near its prime, its whiny and irritating at times on the newer songs.

Ultimately enough material on here to cater to casual listeners. Enjoy the better moments of this album...Led Zeppelin would return within the next year to give us their last great album in Presence.

mr.cub | 3/5 |


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