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