Fanatic is Pick of the Week


There has always been something about the music of Heart that pulls me in and owns every time. In 2010 the Wilson sisters, Ann and Nancy and their band, released the excellent Red Velvet Car. It may have come as a surprise to many that this long standing sister tandem could still rock and record vital music that a large cross section of age groups would be able to enjoy. Well two years have passed and they have not only done it again but raised the stakes even higher releasing a rockin’ raw slice of rock perfection with Fanatic.
Dan Rothchild (bass), Debbie Shair (keyboards, synthesizers), Craig Bartock (guitars) and Ben Smith (drums) form a rock solid foundation for the ladies to strut their stuff. A lot of credit should be given to these very talented and seasoned musicians because without them the sound of Heart would not come alive.
The Wilson sisters have proved once again that age has nothing to do with their ability to create great music and perform at a level that is so high that many bands would have trouble duplicating the heights they reach. They pull it off consistently throughout this powerful new recording. I am hard pressed to complain about anything on this album, every track got my attention.
The Led Zeppelin influence is still there blaring away at every turn and that is what makes their music and approach so appealing to anyone that appreciates good rock. “59 Crunch” is a perfect example of that. I can hear Robert Plant singing it now on Zeppelin II, as it rings in my ears and leaves an after affect that I wish more music I hear would. I think I have discovered a new found appreciation for classic rock and the music I grew up listening to via the radio in the car (not by choice mind you) while hearing all the processed sounds and multitudes of so called vocalists raking in the cash from their teenage iTunes customers.
The one factor I demand in my listening experience is consistency, if it’s not there in the first few tracks you have lost me, also every track with a similar theme or beat totally puts me to sleep. You will not find that kind of monotony on a Heart album and definitely not on Fanatic. The rock gods are smiling upon the Wilson’s right now, you can be certain of that.
The ten tracks that comprise this album string together like a hand in a glove, they all have a raw rockin’ sometimes funky upbeat feel and the vocals are outstanding as always. Ann can growl and snarl or reel you in with beauty and sweetness. That ability is her trademark and Sister Nancy can also carry a tune and play the guitar as good as ever.
From the title and opening track this album rocks straight on through, in fact I was recalling moments like “Barracuda” and “Magic Man” more than once while taking in this certain to be dubbed masterpiece. When “Skin and Bones” and “Million Miles” kicked in I was reminded time and again of the tenacity and grip that this music can have, it just takes you away to a better place, the happy place all rockers like to live. It is that kind of energy which prevails on this release and it surely will garner the ladies plenty of attention on October 2ndwhen it is officially released. This is the kind of music that made Heart a household name and the music icons they are and remain to this day.
While the previous album was very good and polished this release is more back to their roots and it has a wild raw edge to it. This suits the vocalists and the band very well indeed. If you are a big rock fan or have been following Heart this is one album you will be giving a spin on a regular basis.
5 Stars
Key Tracks: Fanatic, 59 Crunch, Million Miles