Heart – Beautiful Broken (Concord Records)

Genre: Classic Rock

The fact that this is Heart’s 16th studio album emphasises the longevity of the Wilson sisters and their ability to retain a key position in the pantheon of rock. That Beautiful Broken is more a long overdue reimagining of the past, rather than a brand new record, barely matters: the power of the vocals and depth of musicianship makes for a special addition to the Heart catalogue.

Of the three new songs, the Ne-Yo-penned Two is, perhaps, the most surprising. The simple piano intro. and echo effect on the vocal leaves no room for error but Nancy Wilson nails an anthem-in-the-making. It’s an evocative tune that fuses the band’s early folk rock sound with the burning ambition of their late 80s ballads – and that’s Beautiful Broken in a nutshell.

The upbeat title track – originally a bonus pick on 2012’s Fanatic – features a typically growling James Hetfield guest vocal but elsewhere there are stripped down verses, soaring strings and a back-to-basics brilliance. A rousing reworking of Sweet Darlin’ might drift into Elbow territory (think Guy Garvey’s London 2012 BBC theme tune) with its Paul Buckmaster arrangement but it’s a stirring standout nevertheless.

Heart have just pulled off a triumphant return to the UK and this bold collection suggests the Wilson sisters haven’t drained the creative well just yet. The covers-to-originals ratio might be too great but that’s a minor quibble – this is consistently affecting classic rock.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Heart And Soul