John Cale - Shifty Adventures In Nookie Wood

John Cale - Shifty Adventures In Nookie Wood
Album Reviews

A visceral, thrilling ride, capable of soundtracking any seedy disco on the outskirts of Nookie Wood.



Label: Domino Records
Released: 1st October 2012
Reviewer: Colm McAuliffe
It’s difficult to get past the title of Welsh legend John Cale’s new album so much so it’s best not to concentrate on it. The incomparable one-time Velvet Underground man is a towering figure in the musical landscape and at the ripe old age of seventy and it’s unsurprising to discover that ‘Shifty Adventures…’ bears absolutely zero resemblance to any of his mid-seventies and eighties solo albums, let alone his work with ‘Laughing’ Lou and co.

In fact, the most retro sounding aspect of the album is Cale’s belated use of the vocoder to heavily process his vocals. Lead single ‘Face To The Sky’ is a busy synthesis of piano and percussion with Cale’s modulating vocals sounding remote and disembodied, anchored by a roving, restless bass line. Danger Mouse collaboration ‘I Wanna Talk 2 U’ is a brooding, psychedelic pop number replete with vintage soul-styled acoustic guitar driving the collaboration into the realm of “old-school Detroit.”

In spite of the occasionally intrusive production, Cale has managed to carve out a remarkably relaxed-sounding album from his cauldron of effects and collaborations and there’s a certain glee with which he wields the vocoder. ‘Mothra’, in particular, benefits from the multi-tracked vocals bent out of shape while ‘Scotland Yard’ is a cocky strut through the neon synths of past and present and gallops with an invigorating swagger and style.

Cale’s association with the aforementioned Mr. Reed ensured the two will always be mentioned in the same breath. But while Lou knocks out third-rate metal cast offs with the frankly laughable likes of Metallica, John Cale’s latest is a visceral, thrilling ride, capable of soundtracking any seedy disco on the outskirts of Nookie Wood.
Rating: 7/10
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