Producer Daniel Lanois brings sonic landscapes to everything he touches. Working on Neil Young’s new album, Le Noise, he says he “put an acoustic guitar into [Young’s] hands — one that I had been working on to build a new sound…I wanted him to understand that I’ve spent years dedicated to the sonics in my home and that I wanted to give him something he’d never heard before.”
The album kicks off with “Walk with Me,” a big chord kind of tune with weird ambient backing. “Sign of Love” also has those big, open chords and sweet lyrics about love and aging. I wonder though, whether this song might have been better served without Lanois’ splashy, synth sound, but then again, that is what Le Noise is about. “Someone’s Gonna Rescue You” has a plucky-sounding guitar and Young singing at the upper parts of his ethereal range, with a lyric that isn’t particularly great.
With a light, acoustic, Spanish-sounding touch, “Love and War,” sounds like a demo and it, along with “Angry World,” offers great lyrics, but has some creepy, repeating backing and, with “Hitchhiker,” these two are the more blatantly aggressive tracks on the album, and are at the complete other end of the spectrum from “Love and War.” “Peaceful Valley Boulevard” is great; it is long, expansive in chord choices and lyrics, with Young’s lower register echoing over the history sung about in this seven minute tune.
Le Noise is available now on CD, vinyl, as a digital download, and as a deluxe CD/DVD.