It has been nearly 20 years since Heart’s Ann and Nancy Wilson came out of Seattle with their brand of folk-tinged, Led Zeppelin-influenced rock and roll. The sisters hit the Top 40 in the late ’70s with such hit tunes as “Barracuda” and “Magic Man” and got hotter in the ’80s after transforming themselves into a pseudo-metal powerhouse.
Now the Wilsons have mixed arena bombast with the acoustic sound of their earlier work and come up with an album that both rocks and strolls. Ann’s voice, which has always been Heart’s strength, can still tear a song to bits. She howls, more than sings, on “Rage,” working into a fist-pumping climax. On the softer “Ring Them Bells,” an ecclesiastical lullaby, she joins Nancy and Layne Staley of Alice in Chains, singing to heaven in a tone both sweet and soulful.
Whether rocking fast or strumming slow, this pre-grunge sister act reminds us that Seattle was making big noise long before we’d ever heard of Eddie Vedder. (Capitol)