Neil Young & Crazy Horse: Psychedelic Pill

By DaVe Lipp, on 12 Dec 02, 2012

Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Psychedelic Pill
(Reprise Records)

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After a break of nearly a decade, Neil Young & Crazy Horse have unleashed two albums onto the masses. The first, Americana, was met with mixed reception, but Psychedelic Pill more than makes up for where that previous effort may have sagged. The title teases at the rambling, jamming nature of the album, which goes on for so long that it spans two discs. The opening track alone, “Driftin’ Back,” is as long as some modern albums. But how does the material hold up?

For the most part, quite well. “Driftin’ Back” laments current attitudes toward art and the convenience of the Internet, and as the song sprawls on, it feels like a battle cry as Neil and company announce that they are back to take no prisoners. “Twisted Road” is littered with remnants of popular classic songs and nostalgia for the radio, with a cheeky refrain of “let the good times roll.” “Born in Ontario” is infectiously catchy while showing that Young will always acknowledge his roots and try to pay his good fortune forward.

Some moments do feel indulgent, though ironically, the instrumental breaks are all enjoyable. The title track is particularly grating, with heavy distortion drowning out nearly everything. The song’s alternate mix also feels unnecessary when the album is already well past an hour long without it. I only found myself disliking six minutes out of nearly an hour and a half of Psychedelic Pill, and that is the sign of a classic band creating work worthy of its back catalog.