Heart, "Red Velvet Car"

60 Billboard Rating

As a rock vocalist, Ann Wilson can be as powerful as Jon Bon Jovi, Janis Joplin or Axl Rose; and sister Nancy's guitar hooks are some of the most energized and memorable of the 20th century.The duo's first album in six years, "Red Velvet Car," is light on those searing moments that define the greatness of the group. The set's tone is measured and reflective on retrospectives like "Queen City," such family odes as "Safronia's Mark" and the lovely, winsome folk tunes "Hey You" and "Sunflower." The passion that Heart does best breaks through on the shuffling growl of traveling song "Wheels"; the pulsing, syncopated claustrophobia of "Death Valley"; and the angry wail of "WTF," where Ann thankfully visits her high notes after the buzzy plod of opener "There You Go." The lyrical focus, along with raw production and eclectic instrumentation (including mandolin, strings and autoharp), give the 10-song set a heat that's honest and personal, but not quite the riveting bearing of souls that Heart is known for.