We all enjoyed Neil Young’s early-'70s period, beginning with After the Goldrush through Tonight’s the Night or On the Beach, depending on whom you ask. Now, along comes pseudo-Young clone TW Walsh with what is apparently his second CD release, Blue Laws. From his straining, quavering nasal voice to his somewhat lugubrious piano-based compositions, Walsh seems intentionally to beg comparison to Young (one of Walsh’s tracks here is even titled “Everybody Knows This Is No Fair,” echoing Young’s 1969 album title, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere).
While Walsh does manage a nice phrase every so often (for instance, “art cannot compare to the worst love affair,” from “The Wages of Dying Is Love"), he mainly seems to delight in turning the lyrics of others inside-out (from “Massachusetts Militia Fight Song,” “I shouted out, ‘Who killed you and me?'/When after all, it was the Kennedys,” echoing the Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil"). I suppose this sort of deconstructionism has some kind of artistic merit. But, generally, echoing does not equal creating. Walsh does a good job with his impression, but if I want to hear Neil, I’ll slap on one of his CDs.