By DaVe Lipp, on 12 Dec 21, 2012
Loud guitar and Ann Wilson’s always-strong vocals move the chunky title track opener of Heart’s fourteenth studio album, Fanatic.
Electronic, spiky staccato and back bleeps infect a good amount of the 13 tracks here. “Skins and Bones” is a good rocker and the best tune of the first few. Then there is “Million Miles” with its echoey electric guitar and keys behind Ann’s vocals. (It reminds me of what Tangerine Dream managed on the Risky Business soundtrack.). Later, tom-tom beats move under both Nancy and Ann’s vocals on “59 Crunch.”
“Mashallah” is about as classic as you’re going to get to some late ’70s Dog & Butterfly- era Heart, with its great seductive rhythms from Nancy (one of the truly gifted rhythm guitarists in rock music) rolling over the spiking strings and Ann calling you in close. “Rock Deep (Vancouver)” is just damn pretty, with Nancy’s first real use of acoustic and Ann hitting it out of the park about the girls’ history in the northwest area of this country. Drums and big, heavy chords lead the straight-ahead “Beautiful Broken,” again showcasing Ann’s truly amazing pipes. “Two Silver Rings” gives Nancy ample distorted rhythm room under Ann’s spoken vocal. And the last tune, “Zingara,” has an almost salsa/conga-back beat-thang with Nancy on lead vocals.
Producer Ben Mink is back on board with Ann and Nancy here as he was on their last, equally brilliant album, Red Velvet. Like Red Velvet, Fanatic is another great release from Ann and Nancy Wilson leading their band well into four decades-plus now.