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Led Zeppelin - In Through the Out Door CD (album) cover


Led Zeppelin


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Easy Livin
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Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Swansong

"In through the out door" turned out to be Led Zeppelin's last studio album. To their eternal credit, the line up is exactly the same as appeared on their first. That alone is quite an achievment.

This is something of a misunderstood album, which finds the band exploring new avenues. Recorded in Sweden (at Abba's studio) in 1978, there is a refreshing diversity to the music which indicates that under different circumstances, the band could have survived for many more years. Much of that diversity stems from John Paul Jones enhanced contribution, especially on keyboards. The unusual sound of synthesisers dominates several tracks, especially "Carouselambra" and "All of my love". Jones also makes by far his greatest contribution to the song writing.

Things start of in relatively conventional fashion, with "In the evening" a pretty straight forward heavy piece. "South bound saurez" is a piano based song, which is almost devoid of Jimmy Page, apart from some so-so guitar. "Fool in the rain", a rare Bonham/Plant composition continues with the piano basis, the song being quite pop. The lyrics tell the tale of a man who thinks he has been stood up by his date, only to discover he is waiting in the wrong place.

"Carouselambra" stands alongside Led Zeppelin's best tracks. The hypnotic synth keyboard rhythm is reminiscent of "Trampled underfoot" but Plant's muddled vocals, which are quite far back in the mix, give the track the Led Zeppelin stamp. The rising key of the synth accompaniment increases the tension throughout the first part of the track. The song has three distinct sections, including a slower Page dominated centre, and a more upbeat conclusion. This is unquestionably among Led Zeppelin's most progressive pieces, and not just because it lasts for 10 minutes (their second longest ever).

"All of my love" is not in fact a romantic love song, but Robert Plant's dedication to his son who died in 1977. The emotional lyrics are complemented perfectly by the gentle melody. John Paul Jones adds a unique (for Led Zeppelin) synthesiser solo which helps to place the track among the band's finest ballads.

"I'm gonna crawl" is the final Led Zeppelin song, apparently ever. All too soon, John Bonham had died, and the Led Zeppelin story had been told. The song is suitably downbeat, almost soulful, with Robert Plant literally singing his heart out, and Jimmy Page's guitar weeping in unrestrained fashion.

"In through the out door" was a step too far for many of the band's most dedicated fans. For those who were prepared to accept that times had changed, and that the band had to look to move on, this was and is an excellent final album. The fact that it is also one of their most progressive is a bonus too.

The sleeve came with 6 slightly different photographs. These were concealed by the brown paper bag the LP was enclosed in. Apparently, dampening the sleeve causes the monochrome illustration to become full colour.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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