Some classic rock reunions are driven by marketing, some driven by a desperate need to reconnect to the past, some exist merely for the music. Red Velvet Car, Heart’s first album since 2004’s Jupiter’s Darling, belongs to the latter camp: it’s music with no seeming commercial aspirations, music that is connected to the past but doesn’t strive to replicate it. Heart eschews their teased, corseted ‘80s bombast and sticks to the Zep worship of the ‘70s, an obsession that’s proved quite fertile.
Ann Wilson can't be 60. On Heart's 13th studio album, her trademark coarse Robert Plantish howl is in top form, energizing the numerous hard rockers (WTF, Wheels, Death Valley) and adding oomph to mellower turns like Red Velvet Car, the Dreamboat Annie-ish Safronia's Mark and their ode to Seattle, Queen City. Younger sister Nancy jumps between mostly acoustic instruments and lends milder vocal leads to catchy folk-pop tunes Hey You and Sunflower.