herald

Thursday 10 July 2014

Please don't keep taking the pills, Neil

Neil Young with Crazy Horse Psychedelic Pill (Reprise)

Christ. This is the sort of errant foolishness that gives psychedelic drugs a bad name.

These days tetchy rocker Neil Young scores his pension, not Class A. But that doesn't stop him reminiscing and wallowing in nostalgia.

Exactly why he feels it necessary to inflict his musical dribbles on the rest of us is anyone's guess.

To be fair, Young has created so much remarkable work since he quit Canada and teamed up with Buffalo Springfield in California in 1966 that most feel obliged to cut him some slack. And with almost 90 minutes of lumbering jams on this nine-track double CD, most fans will find something to tickle their lobes. Probably the 16-minute track of personal regret Walk Like A Giant or Ramada Inn, a relaxed examination of an alcoholic relationship.

Although, overall, if Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie pulled a stunt like this, he'd have his arse kicked from the Gorbals to Brixton. From the opening salvo of "Hey now now, hey now now, I'm drifting back...", Neil sounds like a chap who should get out more. Sadly, he can't.

A problem with a toe (seriously) kept him housebound, so he amused himself writing his biography. Or at least the bits he could remember. Later he teamed up with Crazy Horse, for those extended, some might say, sprawling, guitar solos that coloured much of Young's early work.



challenging

At their best, Young and Crazy Horse harnessed a free-flowing musical introspection that appealed to people who found the cosmic explorations of the Grateful Dead too challenging. This time around, though, their kool-aid hootchy-koo is more miss than hit, more moan than stone, more w*nk than Hank.

Mind you, the 27-minute opening track Driftin' Back will scare kids away from narcotics. Would you ingest something that'd turn you into such a bore, sarcastically droning on about wanting to get a "hip-hop haircut"? Or, as on Twisted Road, singing about the first time you heard Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone?

Lazy stuff. He'd be better off with an allotment.

HHHII

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