By Poppy Tohill
Released Friday October 14th, 2016 - Mascot
With a striking voice that penetrates the hearts and minds of listeners, songwriting that rivals those of the greats and a talent that leaves you utterly speechless, Beth Hart’s masterfully crafted eighth studio album, Fire On The Floor flourishes a fun-filled energy that flawlessly alights Hart’s ‘rock and roll’ attitude, whilst oozing everything from jazz to blues, funk and soul with a perfect finishing sprinkle of emotion on top. Proving there’s no one else quite like, or as good as our beloved Ms Hart.
Through twelve songs Hart magnificently takes the listener on an emotional joy ride.
From the sultry beginnings of Jazzman and Love Gangster through to the beloved honeymoon phase of Let's Get Together. An attitude-filled Love Is A Lie and Baby Shot Me Down packs a punch, before the sincere longing and lust of Woman You’ve Been Dreaming Of and Good Day To Cry commences this journey of love, with the power ballad brilliance of Picture In A Frame and No Place Like Home act as the final raw and intimate touches to this roller-coaster ride of emotions.
Teleporting one to the middle of 1970's New Orleans, with a swinging and almost waltz like tempo, the flowing piano melodies of Jazzman begin this journey of love accompanied by a deeper and darker bass rhythm which exquisitely backs the saucy rasp in Hart's vocals as she effortlessly lures you into the imagined scene, and straps you in for the ride to come.
The smouldering Love Gangster continues the sultry disposition of the record alongside Hart’s alluring vocals and vibrato kicks, before the simmering Coca Cola blends a smooth and impassioned vocal performance with stunning blues licks that lend themselves to that of the early Chicago Blues sound.
Let's Get Together picks up the pace with an almost playful air of sultriness, as Hart, taking influence from the catchy, bright and youthful sounds of soul and funk music, delivers a clear and fun vocal performance alongside tight instrumentation and a more than memorable melody you’ll undoubtedly find yourself toe-tapping along to!
In contrast to the care-free joy of its predecessors, the rollicking attitude and swing of Love Is A Lie marks a definite highlight for the record. A striking blues track that explores the darker side of such unrestrained romance, Hart’s powerfully husky tones linger long and deep as the energetic track grows in strength and swagger from start to finish.
The album’s title track, a sultry, dusky blues number with its woozy guitars and lyrical brilliance, mourning of a missed love and lost time, Hart excuse the pun, pours her heart and soul into a remarkable crescendo overflowing with sheer passion and emotion.
The beautiful fragility of Woman You’ve Been Dreaming Of brings an emotional pull, that displays Hart’s strikingly tender vulnerability, so few artists can express as well as she.
Aching over the collapse of a relationship, a stunning yet heartbreaking melody enhanced by subtle strings and delicate piano work, magnifies the alluring simplicity and magic of Hart’s vocals.
‘Badass Beth’ returns in full force as she rips into another stand out track, Baby Shot Me Down, with vigour and attitude. Lending a nod to Cher’s Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down), the funky guitar riff and catchy vocal hooks drive this track along, delivering a punchy vindictive result, about an eye-for-an-eye payback, concluding with firm evidence that Hart is not someone you ever want to cross.
As the spotlight slowly begins to dim, the emotions are raw, heavy and true throughout Picture In A Frame and No Place Like Home, both of which take you back to the pure nostalgia of Hart’s previous record, Better Than Home. Both offering a melancholy vocal delivery and slow, piano-based instrumental support that balances the heartfelt tones and undoubted tenderness as Hart sings of devotion and loss throughout Picture In A Frame and the extremely personal, intimate and moving realities of missing home whilst on the road throughout the latter.
Fire On The Floor as a whole is a musical gift and a very magical one for the ears, indeed. Producing the very best in musicianship and production, Beth Hart has once again constructed a thing of brilliance. From love and loss, to devotion and forgiveness, Hart allows these themes to honestly and tenderly ring true throughout her empowering vocal performances, conjuring a journey that will stay with you long after the final chords resound.
4.5 / 5