Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Album Review: Neil Young and Crazy Horse - Colorado

Neil Young and Crazy Horse
** out of *****

Last year it was unexpectedly announced that the muse had struck Neil Young and he decided to record a new Crazy Horse album with Nils Lofgren coming back on-board filling in for Frank "Poncho" Sampedro. The recording like all of Neil's works happened fairly spontaneously, capturing the outfit's woolly sound in the moment. Unfortunately unlike his best work with the Horse, the spirit may be willing but the body just doesn't respond as it once did.

Things are limp, tepid, and soft, scattered for even Crazy Horse's notoriously one take friendly standards. Perhaps on the back of the surprisingly better with age Psychedelic Pill too much was expected from this offering, but the band works best on the quick stripped down country ditties and never get to the patented stomp and wail of prime Horse.

The reflective "Olden Days" is the best of the soothing bunch with buzzing guitar tone, focused lyrics, harmonies and sense of purpose and longing. The jingle-jangle country piano tones of "Eternity" are a nice touch while "Milky way" is slightly more expansive and delicate using Billy Talbot's bass to move things positively forward.

The lone extended workout is the scattered to the point of gibberish "She Showed Me Love", which feels as if it was done in one take with the band not knowing where they were going. Usually this is where the magic happens with Crazy Horse, but not on this outing, the plodding drums and sketchy at best guitars just wobble around Young's lyrics about mother earth and old white guys.

The track "Help Me Lose My Mind" sums up this effort. It contains all the prime ingredients; grimy guitar riffs, paranoid Uncle Neil lyrics, heavy bass and drums, but things never sync up to a larger whole. The track plods along before sputtering out without reaching any sort of heights while still reminding of great efforts past. 

The truth is, anytime spent with Crazy Horse is always enjoyable to RtBE's ears, but Colorado seems to be proof that the silver and gold of albums past has tapped out. While Young is the ultimate surprising rocker, and rumor has it the band recorded a host of songs during this session, hopes aren't running high to a return to form from the aging noise rockers.
RtBE loves Neil Young, featuring him in our Masters Series last August. Crazy Horse in particular is our favorite Neil project and RtBE wrote about them extensively. Support the artist, buy the record, peep some video below:

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