A stripped back, underproduced road movie of an album
Chris Jones 2009-04-01
Old Shakey gives us a garage record in the true sense of the word. On the verge (isn't he always?) of finally giving all those fans his huge first volume of Archives he gets sidetracked again. One suspects that he's chuckling at the ire that's flashing across fan messageboards. Call him perverse, but you'll never get quite what you expect from Neil Young. So in the place of a hazy trawl through his halcyon days in Laurel Canyon, we get a stripped back, underproduced road movie of an album; all eco-ire and ornery fun.
Inspired by his long term hobby of tinkering with vintage automobiles, he and a friend decided to convert a 1959 Lincoln Continental to green fuel substitutes and then drive it across the States. In amongst the fairly uptempo, four-to-the-floor chug and dirty funk of car-related fare such as Johnny Magic (a strangely backing vocal-ed tribute to his partner in grime: Jonathan Goodwin), Get Behind The Wheel and the title track we get a few broadsides at the state of the economy (Cough Up The Bucks). Only Just Singing A Song appraoches his more pastoral side,
Much like Greendale or Living With War this is Neil just following his muse because he can and screw the critics. The results may not be pretty (one suspects that despite Prairie Wind's gentle flow, Neil doesn't really like to do pretty any more). There's little of his wild fretboard explorations either. But as companion piece to greater, more focussed work like Sleeps With Angels, this rusty bit of rock buffs up quite nicely.