Probably one of the most underrated albums of all time, in my opinion. Maybe because on Physical Graffiti
Zep stretched out so much, and so (mostly) successfully, this return to blues rock was sort of a disappointment, but this is what they do so well, and they throw in enough twists to keep it interesting.
The album starts out with the epic "Achilles Last Stand", Led Zeppelin's second longest studio cut. The epic thing works really nicely, especially with the lyrics. "For Your Life" follows, with a slow but killer groove and a nice vocal line, along with solid drumming. Actually, I think the vocal lines and drumming are the best things on the album. Definitely some of Bonzo's best, and Plant plays with the vocals, which are themselves some of the most interesting Zep's ever had. "Royal Orleans" is next. Filler, but has a nice riff to it. "Nobody's Fault But Mine" is the second bluesiest song on the album. Again, great vocals. Nice harmonica from Plant, too. "Candy Store Rock" has a fun lively groove to it, and I guess is the closest anyone has ever come to Bubblegum Metal. "Hots On For Nowhere" is hopelessly catchy, with that nonsense vocal chorus: "A-la-la-la-la-la la-la-la yeah / A-la-la-la-la-la la-la-la my baby...", and the ending is great. And "Tea For One" is one of my favorite blues ever. Almost as long as the first track, it's mostly instrumental, but the verses are well placed and the lyrics are great. Everything about this song is great. I actually bought this album because I loved this song title. I'd bought some Zep and wanted more, but that was the thing that made me choose Presence
instead of another album. Just the thing to turn on, then sit back, close your eyes, and hurt.
Overall, not the best place to start with Led Zeppelin, but if you like the idea of the blues rock stuff from Led Zeppelin
crossed with stuff off Physical Graffiti
(both the rockers like "Trampled Underfoot" and the goofier stuff like "Boogie With Stu"), then definitely check this out. Presence
is nothing if not underrated.