Beth Hart's reputation as one of the greatest blues vocalists of her generation seems to grow exponentially with every record she releases. Despite making albums since the late 90s it was Beth's collaborations with Joe Bonamassa that ensured her music reached a wider audience. There can be little doubt that her 8th album, Fire On The Floor will be more than enough musical credentials to have her music stand on its own merits once and for all.
The album is a torrent of emotions from animistic lust to the comforts of true love and every arduous twist and turn in-between. Jazz Man's silky piano intro lures us into the web of this album within a few bars, by the time Hart's sultry vocals kick in you are well and truly bated. It may be fairly standard late night Jazz fare, but it's delivered with all the atmospherics of a smoky, darkened room with Hart's pin sharp drawl being the sole focus. Love Gangster, follows with an endlessly moody and tempestuously sexy feel; it's the equivalent of a strip show for your ears. It's slow, unbelievably sexy and darkly erotic and embedded with some of the most beautifully dirty vocals Hart has ever recorded along with being one of the best tracks on the album. Let's Get Together adds a lighter feel to the album. The uptempo swing of the track has remnants of an Amy Winehouse/Mark Ronson collaboration.
Hart and her superb band are as adept at working with both lively and sombre material, but with many of Hart's songs being introspective, the band certainly relish the chance to let rip. However, there is something magical that happens when they work on the musical canvas of sustained chords, edgy, sparky percussion and loose, desperate vocals - Love Is A Lie certainly stands out in that criteria.
In a total contrast, they also know how to own a softer track. Woman You've Been Dreaming Of is an intimate piano ballad where once again Hart's vocals draw out just the right levels of emotion needed.
The track is tenderly bolstered up by the addition of some spine-tingling brushes and ghostly guitar, but they largely fade away and it's the piano and vocal take centre stage for the track. It's as though, the lively jazz bar from the first track is empty, and our heroine sits along, tinkling the piano in a cri de coeur. Picture In A Frame and No Place Like Home are both, slower, more folk-country tracks akin to the material you'd find on a Mary Chapin Carpenter album. Lyrically poignant, moving songs and a very truthful way to wind down the album.
The album works it's magic over several back to back listens, but as soon as you get your ear into her groove, you'll find this album addictive. From trashy to sassy and classy, this album has it all.
Groupie Rating 5/5