Yesterday saw the premiere of “Rainbow”, the first offering from Robert Plant‘s new album lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar, due out this September on Nonesuch. First debuted on NPR, it’s now also available on the singer’s YouTube page, and as a digital freebie with preorders of the LP. Backed by an hefty roster of musicians in the guise of the Sensational Space Shifters, Plant has stated to the press that the new album’s sound can be summed up handily as “trance meets Zep”. Such a description certainly applies to “Rainbow”, where a sparse and vaguely exotic drum pattern serves as the bedrock for wispy, droning textures redolent of the gentler side of mid-period Led Zeppelin.
For a song that feels as if it’s constantly setting up a chorus that never comes, “Rainbow” is surprisingly effective. Well, not too surprisingly—with each passing decade and each new record Plant continues to prove there’s plenty of creative life long after fronting Led Zeppelin. The feeling is probably an effect of the expectations that accompany Plant even into his greying years, the feeling that at any moment he’s going to let rip one of those ginormous banshee wails. His sedate cooing on “Rainbows” however reiterates the necessary point that a voice with such natural warmth and appealing tone as his doesn’t need to go full-throttle to be captivating. Plant has always been a hippie at heart; fittingly, the combination of his relaxed soulfulness with the song’s mesmerizing instrumentation and love-positive lyrics are absolutely match-perfect.
You can listen to the song below: