Mu­sic re­views

Sunday News - - SOUND AND VISION -

Neil Young Para­dox (Warner) ★★★★ Some­times, dur­ing Neil Young’s 50+ years in the record­ing busi­ness, he’s been de­lib­er­ately can­tan­ker­ous, as oc­curred with the baf­fling and un­rep­re­sen­ta­tive early 1980s al­bums Trans and Ev­ery­body’s Rock­ing. His Achilles’ heel though has al­ways been when he’s taken on sound­track projects. The first, in 1972, Jour­ney Through The Past, fea­tured out-takes from Young’s Har­vest al­bum and other ma­te­rial. Where The Buf­falo Roam in 1980 fea­tured vari­a­tions of his orig­i­nal theme, while his sound­track for 1996 Jim Jar­musch film Dead Man was an un­der­whelm­ing col­lage of gui­tar and the po­etry of Wil­liam Blake read by Johnny Depp. Para­dox, in the con­text of his sound­track work, is ac­tu­ally para­dox­i­cal. It’s the third al­bum he has recorded with Prom­ise Of The Real. The cover of Wil­lie Nel­son’s An­gels Fly­ing Too Close To The Ground by his son Lukas, and 10-minute Cow­girl Jam tell a story that has been dif­fi­cult to pic­ture with Young’s pre­vi­ous cin­e­matic en­deav­ours. – Mike Alexan­der Brian Jon­estown Mas­sacre Some­thing Else (South­bound) ★★★ The ever-pro­lific An­ton New­combe con­tin­ues to churn out al­bums from his home record­ing stu­dio in Ber­lin. Some­thing Else treads fa­mil­iar ground for the band – re­verb-drenched psychedelia that draws on the past, while also sound­ing ut­terly con­tem­po­rary. There are many mo­ments of gen­uine beauty, but Some­thing Else is dra­mat­i­cally loud. In­stru­ments – the pound­ing drums of Skin and Bones, the over­driven guitars of Psy­chic Lips, even del­i­cate tam­bourine strikes – fight for space. This lack of dy­nam­ics, com­bined with songs that of­ten rely on only one mo­tif, make Some­thing Else a rel­a­tively ex­haust­ing lis­ten. – James Cardno ★★★★ This San Fran­cisco quar­tet pro­duces a bright and eu­phoric dis­play of mod­ern psy­che­delic rock. Per­formed in an im­pro­vised man­ner, V. gives the feel of an ex­tended jam but one that never bores or goes dull. Re­fresh­ingly, there’s noth­ing dark go­ing on – it’s the kind of al­bum that could eas­ily ac­com­pany a sun­shine­drenched drive or a day on the deck drink­ing beer. High­light Star­ing At The Sun is a stun­ning dis­play of ethe­real smooth rock with end­less lead work that doesn’t be­come self-in­dul­gent or ex­ces­sive. Filled with su­perb am­bi­ent gui­tar ef­fects, there are times V. has the power to stand alone as an in­stru­men­tal or min­i­mal­ist record.

– Hugh Collins

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