Album reviews: Neil Young; I Am Bolt; Jools Holland

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Album reviews: Neil Young; I Am Bolt; Jools Holland

Neil Young — Peace Trail

Now 71, Neil Young has been releasing albums at the rate of knots in recent years, but, sadly, quantity has not often been matched with quality.

The Canadian’s recent efforts have been largely disappointing and Peace Trail is similarly underwhelming. For a man quite rightly revered for seminal albums such as Tonight’s The Night, After The Gold Rush and Harvest, Peace Trail sounds a right mess.

Things start promisingly enough with the title track, but degenerate rapidly with the turgid ‘My Pledge’ and the ludicrously titled ‘Terrorist Suicide Hang Gliders’, which is as awful as its title suggests.

The music and lyrics sound cobbled together on a whim, which makes it all the more disappointing from the man who wrote classics such as ‘Like A Hurricane’ and ‘Cinnamon Girl’ in his heyday.

Let’s hope his next album heralds a much-needed return to form.

Kim Mayo

I Am Bolt — Original Soundtrack

New documentary, I Am Bolt, which delves into the life of world record- winning sprinter and all-round legend, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, was released at the end of November.

While the soundtrack hasn’t got all the feels the film does, it’s not too shabby either, featuring the likes of Nas, Sean Paul, Major Lazer and Toots And The Maytals.

As with any soundtrack, you miss the accompanying video, but this is totally pumped, pulsing with drums and electronic beats that kickstart your muscles.

Sean Paul’s ‘Crick Neck’ (feat Chi Ching Ching) will really get you going, while Damian Marley’s ‘Everybody Wants To Be Somebody’ chills everything back out. Toots’ early 1970s classic ‘Funky Kingston’ still hits the spot. Put this album on during your next run and you’ll feel like you’re flying.

Ella Walker

Jools Holland — Piano

It’s Jools Holland’s five decade-long love affair with the piano that is the focus of his latest record, the straightforwardly named Piano. An instrumental album, its tone shifts from jaunty and robust, to classical, funky, jazz-drenched and even includes a delicate, tinkling reinterpretation of prog rock (‘Eruption’).

Most intriguingly, it starts with ‘May’, a duet between Jools and a load of real-life chirping birds, co-written with Sting. Sweet and richly layered, it’s actually quite magical when the birds begin their tweeting. ‘Dorothy’ romantically swirls with old-school glamour, while ‘Christabel ‘succumbs to sinister plonking.

This promises solid background music, but Piano is unlikely to hold your full attention.

Ella Walker

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