Robert Plant And The Sensational Space Shifters: Lullaby And …The Ceaseless Roar – album review

Robert Plant And The Sensational Space Shifters: Lullaby And … The Ceaseless Roar (Nonesuch)
Available 8th September 2014

Iconic Led Zeppelin frontman returns with new album that showcases brilliant blend of genres. 

Robert Plant releases his first album since 2010’s Band of Joy which was preceded by 2008’s Grammy-winning collaboration with Alison Krauss. Now working with The Sensational Space Shifters, the man often dubbed the greatest voice in rock has ploughed a new and fertile furrow to produce one of the albums of the year.

It’s widely known that Plant has recently undergone upheaval in his personal life, splitting from his partner and musical collaborator Patty Griffin and moving back to his Black Country roots. However, inspiration also seems to be drawn from a range of sources such as English Folk, World and Rock or as Plant himself has described it as “a celebratory record, powerful, gritty, African, Trance meets Zep”.

These have been complemented by The Sensational Space Shifters line- up who include the former Cast guitarist Liam Tyson, John Adams who has worked with Jah Wobble, Bristol Sound eminees John Baggott and Billy Fuller, Loop Collective drummer Dave Smith and Gambian Juldeh Camara who adds the sound of ritti, a one stringed fiddle, and kologo, a two stringed guitar. The band is appropriately named for their ability to shift seamlessly across genres and at times incorporate them into a distinctive sound. That may sound a lot easier than it actually is and the results on this album are testament to the ability of the musicians and the unit that Plant has forged.

The themes of change and a journey, first heard in single Rainbow and Pocketful Of Golden are evident throughout the album and the combination of rhythms and sounds that accompany them work perfectly. Plant’s lyrics are reflective and blend perfectly with the collision of sounds beneath them. Pocketful Of Golden is evocative of a Plant as a child and only now rediscovering the things that were so vital then. Embrace Another Fall similarly echoes the notion of return as he bids “farewell my wanderers home” to experience frost and rain again before the subtle but brilliant blend with Marwnad yr Ehedydd, an ancient Welsh song with vocals from Julia Murphy. Turn It Up explains the decision to come home, as Plant sings “I’m lost inside America, I’m turning inside out”.


There is also a slightly other worldly aspect to Somebody There with the voice of a young Plant again being heard while House Of Love demonstrates that The Sensational Space Shifters are capable of turning out a pure rocking gem. This point is rammed home by Up On The Hollow Hill (Understanding Arthur) where the ancient myths blend with all the influences the album can throw at you.

Lullaby And … The Ceaseless Roar is a great album that sees the legend that is Robert Plant move further on a musical journey that is sure to take a host of fans, old and new, on the adventure with him.


Lullaby and…the Ceaseless Roar is released on Nonesuch/East West Records as CD/DL and vinyl on Monday September 8th

Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters are on tour in the UK in November. For more information please visit the website. They are also on Facebook and Twitter .

All words by Dave Jennings whose Louder Than War author’s archive can be found here. He is also on Twitter as @blackfoxwrexham

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