I love Neil Young the best when he plays with Crazy Horse. They are the greatest garage rock band in the history of garage rock bands. The way Neil plays when he is backed by the Horse is always otherworldly. A lot of my favourite Neil Young moments are when he plugs in and rides the E with the horse (I’m repeating myself I know) and in 2012 we got two records from Neil Young and Crazy Horse. Musicians at this age normally glide into mediocrity and cease to challenge themselves creatively. Neil Young is not that artist and over the course of his 40 year career, Neil has always remained driven creatively and never stayed in one spot for too long. This is what makes Neil Young my hero and that is what makes the two records he released with Crazy Horse this year so vital.
“Americana” is the first album released and is a collection of traditional American Folk standards. It is quite a history lesson and although the songs are of the folk tradition Neil and The Horse make them their own. These are songs the band could have conjured up themselves. As always, the production is beautiful and dusty and rooted in the vintage fuzz. It is warm and noisy with the guitars front and centre and the ever reliable rhythm section pumping away giving the noise the pulse and drive it needs. It’s beautiful stuff.
“Psychedelic Pill” is a double album of all new material. The album opens with the 27 plus minute song “Driftin’ Back” which is pure Neil Young and Crazy Horse sonic spirituality. The way the song ebbs and flows and travels is a joy to behold and still puts the band front and centre of rock n roll revolution. This is my favourite song of 2012. The rest of the album unfolds itself to be a journey through the past with nods to the future. Lots of noisy guitars and disjointed solos mixed with epic passages of jamming and what feels like pure improvisation. “Psychedelic Pill” is what rock n roll should sound like in 2012, futuristic with blood and dust sprinkled throughout it.
Neil Young and Crazy Horse, may they live forever.
10 Cassette Tapes Out Of 10