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Heart hits trademark sound with 'Red Velvet Car'

The new record mixes it up between acoustic sound and good old-fashioned rocking out.

Red Velvet Car
Legacy (88697 73800 2)
Grade: ★★★★

By Gillian G. Gaar

Heart’s first album since 2004’s “Jupiter’s Darling” gets off to a bluesy start with “There You Go,” but soon kicks into high gear with towering vocals of “WTF,” meaning the record mixes it up between Heart’s trademark acoustic sound and good old-fashioned rocking out.

Now, there might not be enough of latter for those of you who prefer Heart in “Crazy On You” mode. “Safronia’s Mark” is the best at capturing the old fire, starting out slow, but steadily building in intensity, and “Wheels” and “Death Valley” are both upbeat, the latter featuring an especially strong vocal workout (and both Ann and Nancy Wilson are in fine vocal form throughout the album).

The rest of the album is in a more laid-back vein. Producer Ben Mink (who also performs on the album), highlights the musical skills on display as fully as the voices, emphasizing the point that Heart was always a band, not some singers with a backing group. “Queen City” drags a bit, and is least interesting lyrically, and at 10 songs the album feels short. But the smoldering “Red Velvet,” the pretty acoustics of “Hey You,” and the poignant, heartbreaking “Sand” (a re-recorded version of a song by the Wilsons “alter-ego” band, the Lovemongers), should make Heart fans happy that the band’s finally has new material on offer.

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