Wednesday, 29 September 2010

On Shakey Ground....

Le Noise - Neil Young

One of the problems with reviewing anything after a first listen is that some albums are "growers" and a few more listens down the line it might all click and work. The latest Neil Young record seemed a dream collaboration on paper with sound scape producer and fellow Canadian Daniel Lanois who's past productions have included U2 vast backlog and Bob Dylan's masterpiece "Time Out Of Mind" but after the initial listen I was left less than impressed. It's Neil Young, the songs should be great and I tried to listen and judge each one on it's own merit rather than the past history of great tracks he already has in his cannon. It's both over produced and under-produced at the same time (if that's possible.) It's simply Neil Young and his Les Paul playing through songs while Lanois treats the sounds through a host of echos, delays and reverbs. Neil Young isn't The Edge and I don't think this side of production shows his style off particularly well. Songs like "Walk With Me" sound like they were written in 10 mins then recorded which may be thrilling for the artist but without the hindsight of editing and improving sound a little below par when compared to an instant classic like "Pocahontas" or "Wrecking Ball" and I think the main problem is that the band is missing. Crazy Horse are a powerhouse rock and roll band that always lift the songs up and although Daniel Lanois's production on them may have been the wrong move over their gritty raw sound. I think an opportunity was missed to showcase Young's acoustic playing with only a couple of tracks given to this. "Hitchhiker" is a song from the 1970s which was never recorded until now and brings the last 3 songs up a notch because of the pedigree (although "Peaceful Valley Boulevard" sounds like the old hippy inside him is still alive and kicking and not in a good way)but on the whole it seems a little to much like a bunch of Demo's ran through a reverb plate. I think I hear Rick Rubin rubbing his hand's together and praying Neil Young returns his phone calls.

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