Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Neil Young & Crazy Horse: "Psychedelic Pill" (album review)

Having reunited with Crazy Horse earlier this year for the incredibly successful covers record Americana, Neil Young is back with the band and an album of brand new material Psychedelic Pill.

Long is an adjective that could be used to describe much of the album.  In fact, three tracks alone ("Driftin' Back", "Ramada Inn", and "For the Love of Man") end up totaling an hour of playing time.  None of them really require that much time.

The opening track, "Driftin' Back", is a 27-minute opus.  While a decent, unhurried rock number, Young's observations of modern culture aren't novel enough to sustain interest.  "Ramada Inn" combines wonderful vocal harmonies with confident guitar solos, but again takes up more time and space than is warranted.  The best of the three is "For the Love of Man" which drifts and wafts lightly, weaving it's way around and forming smoke rings around your head.

That doesn't leave a lot of room for additional tracks.  However, those are the ones that truly shine.

The title track is a warped, trippy '70s druggy romp.  "Born In Ontario" is full on honky tonk twang.  Crazy Horse even approaches danceable on "Twisted Road".

The standout cut is the closer "Walk Like a Giant".  The song features an instantly memorable whistle line, juxtaposed with a deep down gritty arrangement.  Somehow the combination makes it catchy.

It's good to hear Young back with Crazy Horse.  The two often make magic together.  However, if you are looking for bang for your buck you would be more wise to invest in Americana than Psychedelic Pill.

Neil Young & Crazy Horse play the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on November 19th.

Best tracks: "Walk Like a Giant", "Born In Ontario"

Track listing for Psychedelic Pill:
  • Driftin' Back
  • Psychedelic Pill
  • Ramada Inn
  • Born In Ontario
  • Twisted Road
  • She's Always Dancing
  • For the Love of Man
  • Walk Like a Giant

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