You match producer Daniel Lanois with Neil Young and you’re gonna get some captivating results, to say the least. The eight-song Le Noise is the fruit of their union. As Lanois says about getting Young into his home studio: “I put an acoustic guitar into his 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.” Le Noise is definitely nothing you’ve heard before.
“Walk With Me” is full of big chords with the weird ambient backing that’s a Lanois signature on this record. “Signs Of Love” has more big chords and sweet lyrics about love and aging. This is one of the songs from the collection that might have been better served without splashy, synth sounds — then again, this is what Le Noise is about. As seen in the documentary that chronicled the recordings (included on the deluxe CD/DVD), it was all about getting Neil Young in Lanois’s expansive L.A. home, recording only during a full moon, and recreating a fat and full “on-stage” sound where Young could create these strange new sound collages.
“Rescue Me” has a plucky guitar and Young singing at the upper regions of his ethereal range, with a lyric that isn’t so great. With a light Spanish acoustic touch, “Love And War” sounds like a demo. “Angry” and “Hitchhiker” are two of the more blatantly aggressive tracks — the other end of the spectrum from “Love and War.”
“Peaceful Valley Blvd” features Young’s lower register echoing over this seven-minute tune. It really shows where Lanois and Young might be headed. Le Noise is available as a standard CD, vinyl, digital download or as a deluxe CD/DVD. Anyway you can get your grubby little hands on it, do so. Le Noise is an odd little record from an artist who continues to push himself, collaborating with another artist of equal, quirky abilities.
~ Ralph Greco, Jr.