1st listen - pleasant enough, band sound pissed. Can't stand his voice normally though - the only other NY album I've heard was instrumental I think. Having said that he sounds better when he drops an octave like on much of the last two tracks (and he's doing that Lou Reed thing where the last word in a line is kind of spoken out of tune (if that's possible) rather than sang).
Thankfully never made me think about a beach once (apart from fighting back thoughts of Chris Rea's On The Beach track - this lp is missing a good catchy twangy hook like that). Three tracks called "_______ Blues" is about four tracks too many. Ends very abruptly - the harmonica dude thought he was getting another shot at it but the plug was rightly pulled.
I was was poised for total hatred but liked it more than I thought I would overall, possibly due to that 70s warmth - the audio equivalent of that new car smell. It's just finished but I can't remember a single note or word of it so I'll take that as a positive, will give it another go. I'd be more interested in hearing Neil's Transformers album though, might give that a whirl.
Anyway, I gave this a listen at the weekend. First Neil Young album for me, too. It feels like the kind of thing I've heard traces of on so many more 'modern' albums, not the tunes but the rhythms, the combinations of sounds. I thought of Jim O'Rourke's Insignificance during a couple of numbers, which is probably way off the mark but that's how my brain works. I like it. (And I disagree with Young re his regret that the LP sides were swapped just before release: the bouncier first half works far better than the more drawn-out downer songs on side B.)
I was thinking something similar. Not so much O'Rourke's solo stuff but that there is definitely an affinity between that very sparse, slow, restrained sound (i.e. Low and Smog on Red Apple Falls) and tracks like On The Beach (in particular). I never tire of boasting about the time I saw Bill Callahan do a set in NY with O'Rourke/Grubbs/Pajo as his backing band and I think you can see the influence of this album on that particular sound.
I think this would be a weak introduction to Neil Young. A post Harvest jaded Neil singing about Charles Manson. I like it, but I don't think it's a patch on Everybody Knows, After the Goldrush or Tonight's the Night.
Saying that, it's still very good. My favourite song off it at the minute is Motion Pictures.
Storytone is, indeed, shite. I might have to revisit A Letter Home since a few people have given it a thumbs up in this thread. Haven't heard Monsanto Years yet - will have to give that a listen before I go to see him in Belfast this summer with my dad.
Incidentally, I don't mean to boast (well...I do) but my first ever gig was Neil Young & Pearl Jam at Slane Castle. My parents took me. We had a picnic on the grassy hill while the other support acts were on. I was mad into Pearl Jam at the time and not Neil Young (time has shown me the error of my ways) and during Pearl Jam's set my dad took me right down the front on his shoulders amongst all the moshers. I completely freaked out, nearly started crying and insisted he take me back to safety.
In hindsight my dad was cooler than I gave him credit for at the time.
In fairness Pearl Jam were fucking deadly that day. And I've never owned a PJ album in me life.
Back to On The Beach. I've been listening to it a fair but. I find it hard to form an opinion beyond "I like it". After a while the songs blend into one and it becomes a 40 minute groove. It's all good. I'm looking at the song titles now and they mean nothing to me.
I love how live it sounds.