Sunday, November 11, 2012

Neil Young and Crazy Horse - Psychedelic Pill (Reprise, 2012)

Neil Young has nearly 50 years in the music business, and now is busier than ever, releasing his autobiography this year along with two albums. This is the second one, a rambling double disc affair that covers a lot of ground. Playing with his long time backing band Crazy Horse, the music has a loping, lumbering groove that lays a comfortable foundation for Young's distinctive guitar and vocals. "Driftin' Back" is a massive slab of music, clocking in at nearly a half an hour. The lyrics make a great companion piece to Young's book, Waging Heavy Peace, as both are rambling, occasionally fascinating and resolutely non-linear. There are two versions of the title track "Psychedelic Pill" both short, driving rockers that are as concise as the jams are loose. The nostalgia of "Born in Toronto" gives way to the lengthy "Ramada Inn" which starts bright and sunny before turning progressively darker as the tale of a man struggling with a drinking problem. "She's Always Dancing" develops a swirling, hypnotic groove akin to "Mansion on the Hill" from his great Ragged Glory LP. Finally, "Walk Like A Giant" has echoes of nostalgia in its lyrics, but the music is much more taught despite spooling out for over sixteen minutes. Neil Young is famous in the music world nearly as much for his idiosyncratic nature as his great talent. This album shows aspects of both. As soon as you think he has gone off the rails of self indulgence, he takes a guitar solo or sings a lyric that snaps everything back into focus. Psychedelic Pill -

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