Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Eleven years ago, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young recorded a reunion album (American Dream) that turned out to be a musical nightmare.
Fortunately, they fare better on this, their first album together since 1988.
In spite of the title, Looking Forward is definitely a retro trip, filled with warm and resonant, mostly mid-tempo tracks, and tinged with the trademark harmonies that have been the quartet's calling card for decades.
While Stills contributions like the island-flavored “Faith in Me” are lackluster at best, his old Buffalo Springfield compatriot Young brings a lot to the table here. His acoustic title track is vintage CSN&Y, the kind of “wooden music” that sounds like it could have been recorded next to a crackling winter fire. Another quiet beauty is Young's harmonica-graced “Slowpoke,” with a straight-out-of-“Harvest” feel that's enhanced by Ben Keith's pedal steel guitar and weirdly memorable lines like “When I was faster, I was always behind.”
If it's harmonies you're after, check out Nash's exquisite “Heartland” or his duet with Young on the fine Denny Sarokin-penned set closer “Sanibel.”
This certainly is not as consistent as CSN&Y's prime-time collaborations, but it's most definitely not an embarrassment either. There is still a magical quality that they bring out in each other.