I don’t know why I wasted so much time critiquing the sound of this remastered (2009) pressing. Frankly, it really wasn’t worth it.
However, since I listen to records for a living, I figured I might as well listen to this one, head to head of course with an excellent vintage pressing.
We know what the good pressings of After the Gold Rush sound like, we play them regularly, and this newly remastered vinyl is missing almost everything that makes the album essential to any Right Thinking Music Lover’s collection.
We can summarize the sound of this dreadful record in one word: boring.
Since some of you may want to know more than that we’ll be happy to break it down for you a bit further.
Is it the worst version of the album ever made? Hard to imagine it would have much competition.
What It Does Right
It’s tonally correct. Unlike many modern pressings, it is not overly smooth.
Uh, can’t think of anything else…
What It Does Wrong
Where to begin?
It has no real space or ambience. When you play this record it sounds as if they must have recorded it in a heavily padded studio. Somehow the originals of After the Gold Rush, like most of Neil’s classic albums from the era, are clear, open and spacious.
Cleverly the engineers responsible for this audiophile remastering have managed to reproduce the sound of a dead studio on a record that wasn’t recorded in one.
In addition, the record never gets loud. The good pressings get very loud. They rock, they’re overflowing with energy.
And, lastly, there’s no real weight to the bottom end. The Whomp Factor on this new pressing is practically non-existent. The bottom end of the originals is huge, deep and powerful.
The Bottom Line
This new Heavy Vinyl pressing is boring beyond belief. I wouldn’t give you a nickel for it. If Neil Young actually had anything to do with it, he should be ashamed of himself. If you want a good copy of the album, find yourself a vintage pressing. Please don’t throw your money away on this one.
And if Chris Bellman is such a good cutting engineer, as I hear tell, why does this record sound as bad as it so obviously does?
This remastered version of Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush is an Audiophile Hall of Shame pressing and a heavy vinyl disaster if ever there was one (and oh yes, the vinyl world is currently drowning in them).