You can't keep a good Heart broken, and so the Wilson sisters are back once more, this time with a producer/writer/player esteemed in the progrock community: Ben Mink (ex-FM, replaced Nash the Slash). Fanatic is the combo's 14th release and sees Ann and Nancy following up the CD that put them back in the Top 10 - 2010's Red Velvet Car—after a 20 year recess from such heights. Like Red Velvet, Fanatic is much rougher and more stomp oriented than had been the case for quite a while. That, however, doesn't mean they've eschewn the ballads and orchestral matters entirely, not at all, but even the scaled back rockers like Skin and Bones have a funky bluesrock core punctuated by loud chords and a constantly rough stun guitar (someone call up Eric Bloom!) that can't help but get the blood up.
This newly turned over card is interesting, inviting, and somewhat reminiscent of Jeff Beck's recentish return to core elements. After a wave of half-assed fusion releases that went a lot of nowhere, and an abortive fandango with Niles Rogers, Jeff issued the strikingly and primally heavy You had It Coming and thus turned things around, not long after reviving much of what had made the old Jeff Beck Group, Rod Stewart era, so interesting. Whatever he'd lost in the meantime came flying back at breakneck speed. Well, the Wilsons underwent the same apotheosis and now finding themselves in a re-incarnation of their own. Too, like AC/DC and ZZ Top, formerly eshewn electronics, rare in the all these bands' early days, are enfolded, A Million Miles using them to superb effect within an asskicking punchiness that rocks the seats at the back of the hall.
There's a lot to be said about persistence, especially when it occurs within an artistic context. We've seen, though, that some groups lose their integrity permanently (the Jefferson Airplane/Starship/Whateverthehell as just one example among many) or to various degrees. It's averred that if you can stay the course, you'll eventually make it in some way or find yourself on the comeback trail, no matter who you are, but that's kinda skipping lightly over the essence: ya gotta have talent, ya gotta have discretion, and ya gotta have smarts. All those elements have been present in this duo since the very beginning but not always as well lit in later days as in this release, so to add to the list of ya-gotta's the fact that, more than anything else, ya gotta have Heart.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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