Heart back on track with Red Velvet Car

THE new album from Heart — fronted by Ann and Nancy Wilson — grabs the ear immediately with a blues-soaked There You Go: there you go indeed, because from that the opener it’s a drive through some scenic territory.

Heart have a wonderfully varied catalogue, from Zeppelin-style Middle Eastern influenced soft metal to crunching hard rock to 80s torch songs to folk and blues.

This album harks mostly back to the earlier years of folk rock and blues — they debuted with Dreamboat Annie in 1976 — with the sisters showing a joy and verve that didn’t come across in their previous studio LP, Jupiters Darling (in 2004, breaking a decade’s hiatus).

Check out the railroad rhythm of Wheels, the acoustic strum and drive of Safronia’s Mark, the urgency of WTF, the slow yearn of the title track, complete with strings, the nostalgia of Queen City.

The sisters make a powerful combination, between Nancy’s guitar work and Ann’s impressive vocals that can smoulder down low or skyrocket (she does both thrillingly on Death Valley, adding verve to the second half of Red Velvet Car).

This, Heart’s 13th studio album, doesn’t explore new territory and makes the occasional rest stop, but even with one eye on the rearvision mirror, it changes gear often enough to provide an engaging journey.

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