The latest album from Neil Young himself, this time with a group who are, fantastically, named Promise Of The Real. The Monsanto Years takes a political stance, dealing with the titular agri-business titan. Presented over three sides of vinyl in a gatefold sleeve, the fourth side being taken up by an etching. On Warners.
Double LP £33.49 0093624926801
Gatefold 2LP on Warners with etching on D-Side.
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- The Monsanto Years by Neil Young & Promise Of The Real
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7/10 Penrith Steve Customer review, 28th September 2015
Neil Young has teamed up with Promise of the Real, a band featuring the Lukas Nelson, son of Willie Nelson, for “The Monsanto Years” to raise awareness of the plight of the American farmer. Monsanto are a huge American company who provide genetically engineered seeds, among other things and Neil Young feels that they are causing far more problems than they are solving for farmers. The farmer’s plight has long been a concern of Young’s as he set up Farm Aid 30 years ago along with fellow concerned musicians John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson.
As a huge fan of his music, it’s quite difficult to know how to feel about a new Neil Young album amongst his vast back catalogue. The public perception generally that they’re no better than average and Pitchfork really doesn’t like ‘em. “The Monsanto Years” is not as good as his early-mid ‘70s heyday, but better than his difficult ‘80s period. Neither does it reach the heights of his ‘90s gems such as “Mirror Ball” or “Ragged Glory” but it does do quite well in comparison to the majority of his output from 2000 onwards.
The opening few notes of “A New Day For Love” almost hark back to the dusty psychedelic pop of his Buffalo Springfield days before his trademark guitar crunch provides anthemic power chords. “Wolf Moon” is a scruffy acoustic number that’s typical of his sound since his “Harvest Moon” days but doesn’t quite have his usual charm. “People Want To Hear About Love” is one of the album’s best tracks and has that familiar thick layer of Crazy Horse-esque backing vocals. The protest element of this album is most prominent on “A Star Bucks a Coffee Shop” where he gives a damning indictment of the relationship between coffee giant Starbucks and Monsanto. Also, in the title track where he refers to “the poison tide of Monsanto” whilst damning them further with the line, “The seeds of life are not what they once were/Mother Nature and God don’t own them anymore”.
Musically, there’s enough here for Neil Young fans to enjoy, but if you’re new to him this isn’t the album to start with.
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