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Led Zeppelin - In Through The Out Door
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Their first album proper for three years. Listening to the songs and recordings contained here, you could be forgiven for believing that Jimmy Page had left the band altogether. When there is guitar featured here - it's pretty standard stuff and encased within tracks more dominated by the rhythm section and the keyboards and piano of bass player John Paul Jones. A change had occured. John Paul Jones gets writing credits on all but one of the songs here. It really does sound like Jimmy Page has LEFT the band! Neither of the opening two songs heavily feature any sort of impressive or distinctive guitar work. 'South Bound Saurez' places 'Houses Of The Holy' in this listeners mind, a good song. Piano, shuffling drums - Robert Plant sounding pretty well and alive! 'In The Evening' introduces the synths, a change for Led Zeppelin. We have synths, Plant, the very noticeable drums of John Bonham. Not much else, where was Jimmy, hiding under the table? 'Fool In The Rain' reached number twenty one in the billboard single charts. It's one of the least Zeppelin sounding Led Zeppelin songs I can think of. It's a pop song, albeit a six minute long pop song. We get a little calypso sequence. Led Zeppelin looking to change their sound is admirable, times had changed after all. You'd think they'd go more for the punk route than the disco/light pop scene that dominated the charts in the very late seventies though. Well, wouldn't you? Perhaps just a case of what they could and couldn't do at the time.

Oooh, guitar! 'Hot Dog' features guitar. Unfortunately, 'Hot Dog' is a barn-pleasing country tinged rock n roll novelty item featuring nonsensical lyrics... hardly one of the groups finest moments. Robert Plant does a little Elvis - the music goes all country... rockabilly. The synths come back, John Bonham dies shortly after the release of this album. We'll never know where Led Zeppelin would have gone next. 'In Through The Out Door' with its synths and very un-zeppelin sounding songs and feels and melodies... hints at a future as an eighties pop band more than anything else. John Paul Jones tests his arranging skills on the closing 'I'm Gonna Crawl', synths playing ideas for a string section. You know the best things about this album? Robert Plant, who proves himself very adaptable and adept here... and the drum sound of John Bonham. Those drums are noticeable throughout - no matter what else is going on. Oh, Jimmy Page finally wakes up for 'I'm Gonna Crawl', probably the best song here. 

In The Evening / South Bound Saurez / Fool In The Rain / Hot Dog / Carouselambra / All My Love / I'm Gonna Crawl

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