lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar
The magic of Robert Plant’s tenth solo album, lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar, is its ability to combine a pastiche of disparate musical fragments with effortless fluency. Coming to life with a richly orchestrated version of “Little Maggie”—a traditional bluegrass tune popularized by The Stanley Brothers—Plant interweaves a scrawl of modal strings, grinding electric guitars, and laser-beam synths. And yet, the vocalist and his Sensational Space Shifters (a group that includes versatile guitarist Justin Adams and West African percussionist Juldeh Camara), make the genre-defying collision of musical ideas—old and new, familiar and exotic—seem comfortable and uncomplicated. “Rainbow” opens with a ringing hand drum and buzzing guitar, rising to an etherial chorus of cooing “ooh”s. Turn It Up” combines a righteously distorted riff and jaunting, syncopated percussion. Even the most straightforward songs, like the reverberant ballad “Somebody There,” are sumptuously ornate. The result makes lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar a profound musical endeavor, as brilliant, mystical, and difficult to classify as the artist himself.