Local Wire

Neil Young

Recorded with pedal steel/dobro player Ben Keith, bassist Rick Rosas, and drummer Ralph Molina, Chrome Dreams II is the sequel to a shelved 1976 project. It gathers new renditions of previously unrecorded songs spanning the years. With the search for inner peace being the single unifying theme, II holds together well (though we could've done without the kiddy chorus marring "The Way"). The raging "Ordinary People," an 18-minute chunk of high-intensity social commentary dating from the '80s, is the best thing here. Young isn't afraid to play the wuss, either. There's no trace of his cynicism in "Ever After," which acknowledges the comforting presence of the great beyond. This makes the garage punch of "Dirty Old Man" feel like a well-aimed wisecrack tucked inside what is otherwise an earnest study of a traveler's search for spiritual solace.

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Tierney Smith