Wednesday, 6 June 2012

REVIEW: Neil Young And Crazy Horse - Americana

'Americana' is the 34th studio album from Neil Young and sees him reuniting with Crazy Horse for the first time since 2003's 'Greendale' album. The new album is mostly made up of American folk standards and although it may not deserve the harsh slating that some critics and have been giving it, these songs don't sound like they've taken a lot of time or effort. For someone as uncompromising as Neil Young, you would expect something more creative than an album of lazy cover versions. 

His monotonous take on 'Tom Dula' is built on a riff that brings to mind a looser relative of Young's own 'Hey Hey My My' minus the power and substance, while the jaunty country visiting of 'Gallows Pole' is certainly no match for Led Zepellin's definitive 1974 version. His 'High Flying Bird' is listenable but barely leaves the ground, and it comes as a relief when 'This Land Is Your Land' sticks to the melodic template most of us are familiar with. A re-arranged 'Clementine' and a gritty, ominous 'Jesus Chariot' would be a lot more impressive if they didn't drag on for so long, while 'Travel On' and opener 'Oh Susanna' aren't exactly brilliant but still stand out as the best tracks here. 

The album ends with a puzzling and very out of place cover of 'God Save The Queen', the British national anthem  not the Sex Pistols classic. Why he chose to do this is anyone's guess. It goes against the whole concept of this record and clearly has no link with any of the other tracks. A rendition of doo wop classic 'Get A Job' is also a rather odd selection to be placed on an LP full of vintage American folk songs. It's not a bad record but at the same time there's nothing particularly good about it either, it's just a disappointing album from a legend who can obviously do a lot better. Consider 'Americana' a stopgap release that is perhaps one to avoid if you're not a massive fan. 5

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