Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Toast – Album Review
by Killian Laher
Neil Young has been extremely busy of late trawling through his archives. This is his fifth or sixth release in as many months! What we have here is an album, first mooted in 2001, which was pulled from release by Young (too sad, apparently) and lay in the vaults for two decades… until now. It’s a patchy affair, the ‘Horse-o-philes’ will lap it up, but the rest of us? Some good, some average.
Some of the tracks here were repurposed a few months later for his Are You Passionate? album. One of these, Quit opens the album. It’s an almost apologetic soul track, a harmless but not particularly engaging start. A complete about-turn follows with the wonderful guitar snarl of Standing In The Light of Love, accompanied by typically ropey vocals from Neil. Another reprised song from Are You Passionate is Goin’ Home, an amiable chug built on gnarly guitars. One of the better tracks here, it doesn’t sound a whole lot different from its incarnation on the 2002 album, but it has to be said it has a fabulous guitar riff, low and dirty.
Elsewhere? A mixed bag. The grimy stomp of Timberline is standard issue Young and Crazy Horse, and Gateway of Love which follows sounds just like one of their classic mid-paced workouts. How Ya Doin’? lurches into view, essentially a rougher version of the laidback love song Mr Disappointment. Finally, we get Boom Boom Boom which is an even longer (13 minutes) version of She’s A Healer. It was a little tedious in 2002 and hasn’t improved. Essentially a faux-soul jam, there’s plenty of decent guitar work but the track is highly repetitive. The bit of trumpet thrown in doesn’t exactly help.
Fairly typical of 21st century Neil then, some good, some so-so. This album is really one for Neil Young nerds, but hold tight, there’ll be another release announced in the not-too-distant future!
Standing In The Light of Love