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POP MUSIC | RECORD RACK

Eternal Force of Nature

***, NEIL YOUNG WITH CRAZY HORSE, "Broken Arrow," Reprise

June 30, 1996|Richard Cromelin

Among Crazy Horse's signal virtues is its ability to make Pearl Jam, which backed Young on his last album, seem as clean as a string quartet. This play-it-loud proposition skips back over Young's reflective '90s output to reconnect with the monumental guitar-grunge spirit of 1990's "Ragged Glory."

There are a couple of reflective interludes and there's a long, murky live recording of the blues standby "Baby What You Want Me to Do," but this is primarily an assertion of boldly striding riffs and fuzz-drenched leads with a force-of-nature power.

Young, his reedy voice tossed on the stormy seas and fighting for a spot in the tangle, seems more than ever the rock sage, dispensing comfort and perspective. He opens with a cross-country odyssey whose chorus proclaims, "I'm still living the dream we had," and the entire album (whose title is also one of Young's earliest songs) is laced with nostalgia--often warm, sometimes bittersweet and disquieting.

If it seems you've heard it before, well, that comes with the territory. In a way, listening to "Broken Arrow" is like walking through the garage where Young and Crazy Horse have been thrashing it out since the dawn of time and are sure to remain, quoting themselves in perpetuity.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), to four stars (excellent).

*

TimesLine 808-8463

To hear excerpts from the albums reviewed, call TimesLine and press * and the artist's corresponding four-digit code.

Neil Young *5724

In 805 area code, call (818) 808-8463.

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