After spending the last few years on the road delivering sharp performances all over the place, the Wilson sisters have returned with their first new disc since 2004's Jupiter's Darling. But where that album held some vestiges of the group's more commercial past, Red Velvet Car finds the sisters returning to the sound of their earliest work. Like Led Zeppelin III, Heart pummels their acoustic guitars into rocking form while occasionally flipping on the electrics to burn the place down. The buzzsaw riffage of "WTF" is offset by some sturdy strumming on tunes like "There You Go" or "Wheels". The dramatic "Safronia's Mark" is pretty good too. Where Red Velvet Car stalls is in finding memorable hooks to go with their fervent guitarwork. The song writing is solid and likeable, definitely within Heart's comfort zone, but nothing with the Wow factor.
Heart is one of those bands that have definitely earned a victory lap and after all these years it is nice to hear them make a disc that reflects their original concept clearly. Red Velvet Car is a nice reminder of how great they are and in terms of performance they are as sharp as ever, if only the songs had been beefed up a little more they probably could have turned out a classic. So good stuff yet still a missed opportunity.