Album Review: Neil Young - Peace Trail

6 December 2016 | 2:30 pm | Christopher H James

"'Peace Trail' stands out as one of Young's most lucid, inspired works."

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Despite having already given us Earth this year - an ecology-conscious live marathon - and having performed to gazillions of fans at Desert Trip only recently, Young has somehow found time to release Peace Trail, his 37th studio album.

Unsurprisingly, track two is called Can't Stop Workin', and goes on to detail his indefeasible work ethic and lack of retirement plans.

As per usual, Young has worked fast here; recording everything in four days, with most tracks nailed on the first or second take. But, from the outset, it's clear that while the usual acoustic/electric hallmarks are present, a new sense of purpose has taken hold. "I see the same old signs, but something new is growing," he sings on the opening title track - with an unexpected sense of cautious optimism over some dry rattling drums and a searing solo. John Oaks proves that Young can still crack a yarn with the best of them, and there's evidence that he's still willing to take creative risks in the surreal, dismembered vocals of My Pledge.

In a year when venerated elders have released major works re-staking their claims to greatness (Cohen, Cave, Iggy, A Tribe Called Quest etc...), Peace Trail stands out as one of Young's most lucid, inspired works since his return to prominence in the '90s.

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