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Robert Plant - Pictures at Eleven CD (album) cover

PICTURES AT ELEVEN

Robert Plant

 

Crossover Prog

3.49 | 89 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars No news here

The late 70s and early 80s were a creative descent for Jimmy and Robert and they would really never get anywhere near their past glories. The last bit of excitement was the powerful "Presence" album from '76. From there Page and Bonham's substance abuse got worse and at the end of the decade Zeppelin released the atrocious "In Through the Out Door." After Bonzo checked out Robert moved into his solo career and Jimmy would eventually join The Firm, another completely forgettable and aptly named project. While Robert would go on and do some better stuff, his debut for the most part feels liked a quickly thrown-together batch of faceless hard rock.

Actually this album is a bit of an improvement over the horrendous "Out Door" but it's still a fairly lackluster affair. The best tracks are the more laid-back, moody "Moonlight in Samosa" and the creeping, grooving "Slow Dancer" with its heavy bluesy guitar. These songs have some nice melodies and Blunt is a pretty solid guitarist. But after a rhythm section like Bonham and Jones, this band really sounds like a studio band. There's no exciting chemistry for the most part. Plant is also a problem, as he begins the progression into his old-guy croak. You can hear the constricting, nasal quality creeping in, the range starting to fall, all made worse by his ridiculous oversinging of this material?.these tracks just ain't that dramatic, Robert, chill out. The material here is mostly pretty mediocre stuff. Plant was a great frontman, but that assumes a great band behind him. As the main attraction, without a truly interesting cast of characters, his prancing and baby-babys gets old pretty quick for me. Having witnessed 80s concerts by Plant (and The Firm), I can say the live shows were also far less interesting events than they should have been.

Almost all of the above criticisms would be addressed on the easily better 2nd album. While "Pics at 11" has a few fun moments, it is truly a for-fans title which pales in comparison to his Zeppelin work. And even in the early 80s as a period, contemporaries like The Who were aging more gracefully than this and with better songs with the superior Face Dances.

Finnforest | 2/5 |

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