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GO: ROCK: BEAT GOES ON AFTER A LONG BREAK.

IT'S BEEN over a decade - several lifetimes as measured in modern rock-band years - since Heart last assembled in a recording studio.

But on Monday they emerge from that self-imposed hibernation with Jupiter's Darling, a new album for which the term 'long awaited' seems hopelessly inadequate.

Currently in Britain for a tour that takes in Birmingham's NIA Academy on Sunday night, Ann and Nancy Wilson, the Seattle sisters who supply the soul of Heart, admit that it's been a long-time coming.

But Ann, who stands alongside Grace Slick and Janis Joplin on the all- time podium of great female rock singers, insists that the delay was never planned.

"Although we haven't been in the studio as Heart since 1993, we haven't exactly been taking it easy," she says. "We were involved in a side band called The Lovemongers, Nancy has done a lot of soundtrack work and released a solo album, and we both toured on our own.

"But the climate for music has changed. There is a real hunger out there for authentic rock, and that was all the encouragement we needed."

As with their previous albums, which produced worldwide hits like Alone, Never and These Dreams and helped shift more than 30 million records, Jupiter's Darling ranges from folk-tinged soft rock to bludgeoning riff- fests.

"We'd been thinking about going back into the studio as Heart for a long time," explains Nancy, "and when we finally decided to go for it we asked ourselves a simple question - 'what would be a dream album for our fans?'

"To answer that, we went back to our own roots, the dream we had of giving Led Zeppelin a run for their money.

"We worked on it for well over a year and as we progressed, our standards got higher. We both realised we weren't into retro-Heart; the music had to be both familiar and new at the same time, and that's no easy task."

"Having access to all the latest technology gave us the freedom to try new things," adds Ann, "but at the same time we wanted to keep it real.

"Since we were working with our touring band, we were able to put some studio spin on our live sound. But what you hear is what you get - no machine music, no pitch correction.

"We went for songs that were simple, powerful, at times slightly political, but always emotionally honest.

"We think our fans, no matter how young or old, are smart, passionate people. They've stayed loyal because we've never underestimated them."

Tickets for Sunday's NIA show are pounds 28.50 and can be obtained from www.necgroup.co.uk or 0870 909 4144.

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RETURN: Heart have released a new album after more than a decade
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jun 4, 2004
Words:458
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