REVIEW: Neil Young – “Le Noise”

Neil Young / Le Noise / Warner

Godfather of grunge Neil Young releases a lot of new material; his catalogue now spans six decades for crying out loud. But even his loyal fans will tell you that every now and then, Neil has put out the odd release (pun intended) that is distinctly less listenable than say Harvest or Everybody Knows This is Nowhere. In that regard, Le Noise is a return to form. Young and his guitar are the only sources of music to be found on the record, unless one was to count the atmospheric reverb provided by the ornate high ceilings and archways of the cavernous Los Angeles estate where the album was recorded.

The songs heard here are of just the deeply personal variety for the echoes and atmosphere to effectively supplement each track with some additional meaning. When Young’s on his acoustic (“Love and War”, “Peaceful Valley Boulevard”), the pronounced echo adds a touch of pathos. Here we have an aged, world-weary poet that seems to hold the secrets to make the world a better place – and yet he’s all alone waiting reservedly for the coming storm. In “Angry World” and “Hitchhiker”, tracks where Neil takes on some hard truths accompanied by some suitably distorted guitar riffs, he still sounds lonely – but now he’s drowning. “Hitchhiker” is a diary detailing a drug-fueled vagrant trip from Toronto to California, while “Angry World” acts like the anti-thesis to Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” – possibly a more realistic take on the world of the 21st century.

Download: “Angry World”, “Hitchhiker”

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