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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Beth-Hart-Fire-on-the-Floor-CD-Review-2016

BETH HART - FIRE ON THE FLOOR

ALBUM Review

Mascot Records | Release Date: October 14 2016




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As someone who has almost been there for the whole ride, though I must admit to getting to her debut ‘Immortal’ a little late, I was on board before her stunning 1999 breakthrough release ‘Screamin’ For My Supper’; I have to say Hart’s has been a career that has only risen upwards. Sure it’s been a career that’s taken its time, but since 2010 it seems like Beth has been everywhere, made all the right moves, and in 2016 is looking to take on the world.


‘Fire on the Floor’ could well be my favourite Hart album, and that’s a mighty big call when you look at what she’s already achieved both by herself and in collaboration with the likes of Joe Bonamassa, Jeff Beck and even the likes of Slash. Indeed, eight solo releases in I found myself telling her in a recent interview that she no longer needs to be compared with anyone else, she’s found her voice, she is Beth Hart.


‘Fire on the Floor’ is one of those rare albums that rolls in like the perfect storm, full of energy and beauty, you know it’s coming, but until it hits you, you never quite realise how powerful it was going to be.


Kicking off with that break before the storm when everything is calm ‘Jazzman’ is suitably jazzy; like other albums by Hart the seamless drift between genres, which most artists find so hard, or jarring, is here again handled beautifully and adeptly. It’s a great opener which just has you hanging on till ‘that’ voice kicks in.


The voice is of course what glues it all together, whether rock, jazz, lounge or blues it’s all in that vocal. The power here is unmistakable, the voice of a generation, unshackled, unfettered and her on her eighth album somehow relaxed, at ease and just waiting to pounce and elicit just the right mood and emotion. There are no comparisons anymore, well none that matter anyway, on ‘Fire on the Floor’ Hart has not just come of age, she’s become indispensable. And when that scream hits you better take cover!
There’s a calm to about this album, while you felt the darkness at the edges of its predecessor, ‘Fire’ has an altogether lighter, at times even playful mood.


‘Love Gangster’ second up, offers up piano and a smoky vocal over a Tom Waits New Orleans shuffle; while ‘Coca Cola’ lets the light through the shades onto a jazz-smooth Chicago Blues; and ‘Let’s Get Together’ ups the tempo to deliver a breezy horn-underlined light rock track. It’s in these first few tracks you get it all, the style, the diversity and the unmissable confidence.
‘Love is a Lie’ of course you will have all heard, strikes a darker aspect and Hart’s voice is augmented by some wonderful guitar; it’s breath-taking in its delivery. ‘Fat Man’ that follows is another highlight and similarly gritty, but even rockier. Then comes the slow Blues of the title track and in those three songs you know that the album has upped a gear and is seriously in danger of becoming the album of the year.


It doesn’t let up though, ‘Woman You’ve Been Dreaming of’ is quietly heart wrenching, delicate, and quite beautiful; whilst ‘Baby Shot Me Down’ brings the mood up again to shimmy and shake, before ‘A Good Day to Cry’ adds a little soul to the blues and rises and falls like a heart still beating.


The end comes too soon, but equally powerfully as we began. ‘Picture in a Frame’ rests on some great Jim Cox piano; and we end with perhaps the best in ‘No Place Like Home’ which shines.


This isn’t just a good album, it’s the album that puts Beth Hart where she belongs, the voice of her generation, with no need any longer to make comparisons. To have done this so soon after the wonderful ‘better Than Home’ is all the more remarkable.

 

 

by Mark Rockpit

 

 


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