The sister of legendary Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham has earned her stripes as she unveils the fourth studio album in her canon of solo work. If you’re familiar with Fate of Nations by Robert Plant and thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere, the Cajun and folk subtleties, the underlying blues and the overall ability to incorporate some good songs within a sense of sincere expression, you’ll adore Spirit.
Fly is a great opener for the album as it possesses a sprightly bounce and an obvious hook-laden chorus. Painbirds is an example of Bonham tackling a cover version. The original is by alternative rockers Sparklehorse and can be found on their 1998 studio album Good Morning Spider. Both of these songs really set things up nicely for what is to follow; 12 tracks that are the core of what Spirit is all about and an additional two tracks which are Fly and Take Me Down sung in French.
Just because the good lady is a relative of a legendary rock band doesn’t mean it’s an easy thing to ask a member of that seminal band to guest on your album. Luckily though, we all get to benefit as Robert Plant plays some harmonica on What it Feels and does an enthusiastic job of it too. On the song Feel So Alive, Bonham celebrates and rejoices in fine style about living in the moment whilst on I Need Love she explores the blues and taps some emotional panoramas.
Ultimately if you don’t feel anything when pressing play on this solid collection, then your heart must have ceased and you’re now one of the walking dead. It shimmers with maturity, sparkles with sentimentality and delivers a highly accessible selection of tracks which touch jazz (Good Times), folk-driven pop (I Won’t Let you Down) and blues (I Need Love).
It is a joy to know this album surfaced when it was so close to being shelved due to Bonham’s personal circumstances. Family is a concept that is both complex and also intimate to each and every one of us, and during the recording and the preparation Bonham confronted the sad passing of her mother amongst other things. If you have the time and the inclination, Spirit will touch you with its fresh and sincere presence.