Artist: Neil Young and Crazy Horse
Title: “Psychedelic Pill”
Format: Digital (Spotify)
There’s a peculiar feeling that you’re doing it backward when you hear the studio version of a song after hearing it live several times.
Having been fortunate to see Neil Young and Crazy Horse twice last year, a few of the cuts on “Psychedelic Pill,” the group’s second album of 2012 and first of original material since 2003′s “Greendale,” some of these songs were road tested in front of audiences that didn’t know what they were hearing.
On “Pill,” Young and Horse revisit their classic ’70s sound with long, slow-burning jams and furious guitar solos. The opening track of this two-disc set, “Driftin’ Back,” clocks in at an audacious 27 minutes, 37 seconds long, a testament to Young’s willingness to do whatever he wants.
The difference between “Pill” and those ’70s offerings is that the highs aren’t quite as high. The band plays them with as much conviction as “Hey Hey My My” or “Cortez the Killer,” but those songs they will never be.
But after the disappointment of “Americana,” a fresh batch of reinvigorated Young and Horses songs don’t sound so bad either live or in the studio.
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.