Review: John Cale

Review: John Cale

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John Cale
Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood
Double Six
Street: 10.01.12
John Cale = Bauhaus + The Velvet Underground x Brian Eno
Stand back, kids … at 70, sporting pink dye in his white hair, legend John Cale (The Velvet Underground and too many others to name) is rockin’, and not in a rockin’ chair, son. This album is chockful of his smooth and unmistakable voice––like the voice Jim Morrison might have grown into––his standard drone and his louche lyrics that rival Leonard Cohen’s for their depth. You don’t so much listen to Nookie Woods as you get grabbed and bodily hauled in for some very shifty adventures, indeed. The opener, “I Wanna Talk 2 U,” a collaboration with hip-hop producer Danger Mouse, explodes out of your speakers. The masterful “Hemmingway” rattles you with its building intensity, while “Face to the Sky” is a gorgeous melding of electronic and organic elements, a swooping, woozy nod to Dali’s Car and Bowie. But lest all this ancient name-dropping makes you think the album is a throwback, worry not: there’s nothing old-fashioned about it. Cale seems committed to moving forward with music, playing around with over-processed autotune on “December Rain,” but he’s not afraid of organic acoustic sounds, as on “Mary.” If you don’t already know Cale, it’s time you met him, and a trip to the Nookie Woods is a fine place to start. –Madelyn Boudreaux

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