Album review: Peace Trail by Neil Young sees the singer at his curmudgeonly best

Peace Trail is quirky, soulful and poignant - and one track supports those protesting against the North Dakota oil pipeline.

Peace Trail by Neil Young.
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Peace Trail

Neil Young

Reprise Records

Three-and-a-half stars

Prolific rocker Neil Young is at his curmudgeonly best on Peace Trail, bemoaning his place in the current generation while standing up for his decades-long commitment to fighting for the underdog.

In that way, the largely acoustic Peace Trail is representative of late-career Young. It is quirky, soulful, poignant and powerful – if not a little unpolished. Young stands up for the Standing Rock Sioux and the other protesters who have been fighting the oil pipeline in North Dakota on Indian Givers.

He ends the 10-song album with My New Robot, a track that could have easily fit on his computerised 1982 release Trans. On My Pledge Young sings: "I'm lost in this new generation, left me behind it seems." In a great touch of irony, he sings it while using Auto-Tune. Young has become quite a fan of computerised vocal device lately.

He used it sparingly on his hybrid live album Earth, released six months ago, and it comes up again on Peace Trail, his fourth studio album in less than three years.

On Can't Stop Workin' Young sings that he likes to work even though "it's bad for the body but it's good for the soul". Let's hope Young, who turned 71 last month, has a lot more work left to do.