I heard this years ago when I first getting into music that wasn’t made by Radiohead (coincidentally, Thom Yorke sometimes covers the title track live; I didn’t know that until today) and I found it wholly mediocre. Listening and re-listening and etc. recently when I decided to dive headfirst into Canada’s supposed greatest, I still think it’s a pretty mediocre album. When the french horn solo does the exact same melody as the verses on “After the Gold Rush,” I realize that this is just the complacent mid-70s, just a few years earlier. (That being said, it’s a good melody fer sure – one of the album’s best.) And besides “Southern Man” (which works of some bile/bite) and “When You Dance I Can Really Love,” you wouldn’t know this man and his backing band were capable of the things they did just one year before. And Ralph Molina – never a complicated drummer in the first place – is on autopilot here.
The choruses of “Don’t Let It Bring You Down,” where Neil shrugs his shoulders at the apocalypse mentioned in the title track are the best part of the album, and he presents a solution that’s clever, rhymes (with the previous line), well-sung (ie. “fiiiiind”) and just fucking likeable all around: “Find someone who’s turning / And you will come around.” Elsewhere, the contrast between the guitar and the high-pitched one-note piano on “When You Dance You Can Really Love” and the vocal harmonies adding weight to “Tell My Why” make for the most colorful songs on the record. The rest of these songs are all pleasant at best, and it pains me to think that I’ve rated Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s debut higher (a man who speaks in Shakespearian tongue but not his prose, and who is half – if that – the musician as Neil), but whatever: “Raining in Darling” accomplishes more than the two short ones, and “I See a Darkness” is sadder than anything here.