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coverpic flag Wales - Full Moon 198 - 10/29/12

John Cale
Shifty Adventures In Nookie Wood
Double Six/Domino Recording Co. Ltd.

There has been a couple of relaunches of the albums by Velvet Underground lately, both on vinyl and CD. In addition Velvet chanteuse Nico's maybe greatest solo album The End is due for rerelease on CD right now, very much involving John Cale. But there are brand new songs coming from the Velvet camp this autumn, too. Our Man turned 70 years old earlier this year, but it seems he definitely has no intention to quit the music biz yet. Although he might be best known for his time in Velvet Underground, he only spent about three years along with Lou Reed & co in the first place; present - very much so - on the first two classic albums. Since then he has released a long string of studio albums on his own in the rock and classical/serious/experimental fields, live and soundtrack albums and has participated on several projects with Terry Riley, Brian Eno, Lou Reed, classical orchestras etc. etc. And then there is John Cale the ace producer, ranging from early works by Iggy & The Stooges, Nico, Patti Smith and Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers in the 1960s and 70s, later Happy Mondays, Siouxsie & The Banshees and several others.

To these ears Shifty Adventures In Nookie Wood is his strongest solo album in about... 27 years! The two opening songs "I Wanna Talk 2 U" (produced along with Danger Mouse) and "Scotland Yard" seem to be up there in his top 15 rock songs along with the best off his most well known albums from the 1970s (Paris 1919, Fear, Slow Dazzle and Helen Of Troy) and a couple of goodies from the 1980s (Music For A New Society and Artificial Intelligence). The remaining songs aren't that far behind. I only have one mayor objection. He uses that metallic effect on his voice on a couple of songs, best known from Justin Timberlake and the entire modern commercial r'n'b-scene during the last decade. I hate it in the first place and it certainly doesn't fit a white man that has reached the age of a grand- or great grandfather..., my prejudices tells me, and completely ruins the pleasure of listening to "December Rains" and "Mothra". On the plus side concerning sound is the will to include sonic outbursts occasionally. Old Man Cale isn't afraid of dirty sound now and again, and it fits some of his songs here and his voice. It's not as brutal as the most outrageous parts of Velvet's second album White Light/White Heat. But all the same, praiseworthy!

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You may also want to check out our John Cale article/review: All Summer Long.

© 2012 Luna Kafé