Heart 'Fanatic' (Legacy)
3 stars = Good
"Fanatic" sounds like it could have been recorded in 1978, which isn't a bad thing at all, as the last thing anyone wants Heart to do is try to sound like Katy Perry or Taylor Swift.
Heart made its mark back in the day by sounding as rough and tough as the boys, and now the Wilson sisters seemed determined to prove they haven't softened with age. "Fanatic" is glorious old-school hard rock record with Zeppelin-style riffs and Ann Wilson's powerful vocal chops, which are sounding ageless at 62.
There might not be a "Barracuda" or "Crazy on You" here, but songs like the title track, "Mashallah" and "A Million Miles" (with its Krautrock electronics) aren't far off. "Dear Old America" is an fiery anti-war/pro-military song with some nasty riffs that Nancy Wilson and Ben Mink draw from the Jimmy Page songbook. They even make math rock on "59 Crunch."
Heart changes the pace with a few midtempo tracks, the best of which is "Walkin' Good," a sunny Sheryl Crow-type pop song with a Sarah McLachlan backup vocal and a Jethro Tull-style flute.
Most of the credit might go to producer/guitarist/violinist Mink, who brings out the beauty of all these strings, and somehow makes "Fanatic" sound vintage and yet new. Put Heart down with Rush as the rare classic-rock band that still knows what it's doing.
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-- PG staff and popmatters.com