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Album reviews with IAN SINCLAIR: July 19, 2022

New releases from Tallies, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Steve Tibbetts

Tallies
Patina
(Bella Union)
⭑⭑⭑⭑

WITH their 2019 debut warmly received by critics, it seems apt Tallies have been signed by Bella Union: label boss Simon Raymonde was a member of Scottish outfit Cocteau Twins, a key influence on the Canadian trio.

On their second album they once again crank the reverb up to the max, creating an intoxicating set of dreamy indie pop, with lead singer Sarah Cogan’s youthful, melancholic vocals the icing on the cake.

Opener No Dreams Of Fayres is informed by Cogan’s experience of depression as a teenager, while Hearts Underground explores messy personal relationships. Wound Up Tight showcases a harder edge to the band but otherwise this is another luscious record of superior jangle pop.

One for fans of fellow Canucks Alvvays (with whom they share co-producer Graham Walsh), and ’80s indie bands like The Sundays and Aztec Camera.

Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Toast
(Reprise)
⭑⭑⭑⭑

RECORDED in San Francisco with Crazy Horse in 2000, Canadian-US singer-songwriter Neil Young shelved Toast, later explaining the set concerned a relationship and was “so sad that I couldn’t put it out.”

It has long been considered a legendary lost album by fans, though several of the songs were reworked and put out on his mixed 2001 Are You Passionate? record.

Crazy Horse are on top form, providing empathetic, jazz-soul backing on plaintive opener Quit. They crank up the volume for the blistering Standing In The Light Of Love and the Goin’ Home, one of Young’s epic, swirling songs that time travels between the American west and the present day.

The rocking Timberline, the one song not played live or released before, is about a deeply religious logger who has lost his job.

A terrific addition to Young’s vast canon.

Steve Tibbetts
Hellbound Train: An Anthology
(ECM)
⭑⭑⭑

THIS two-CD retrospective covers American Steve Tibbetts’s recording career with ECM Records from 1982 to 2018.

Over two hours of instrumental music the guitarist and composer hops between a dizzying array of genres, including jazz fusion, experimental, ambient sounds and rock, playing dobro, piano, kalimba and percussion.

He calls his music “post-modern neo-primitivism.”

While the first disc is made up of moody, often difficult electric guitar-led tracks, the second disc of acoustic guitar-focused songs is more accessible. His 1989 Big Map Ideas record and 2002 album A Man About A Horse are both well represented, including the intricate folk and tabla rhythms of Led Zeppelin cover Black Mountain Side and the steel drum accompaniment on 100 Moons.

Those who enjoy expansive instrumental jazz guitar soundscapes from artists like Ralph Towner and Pat Methany will find much of interest here.

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