John Cale: Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood (Domino)

 |   |  1 min read

John Cale: Mothra
John Cale: Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood (Domino)

Although Lou Reed embodies the spiritual core of Velvet Underground, in the fortysomething years since John Cale quit he has made the more interesting music.

From venomous and gristly rock (Guts, Sabotage/Live) through instrumental music and affecting spoken word (his adaptation of fellow Welshman Dylan Thomas' poems), Cale has never been predictable. On his last outing blackAcetate he enthusiastically embraced hip-hop beats.

He's also been an important producer (Patti Smith, Modern Lovers, the Stooges, Happy Mondays among them) so it's no surprise that for this album he does his own drum programmes alongside playing piano, guitar and electric violas, and has Danger Mouse on the enticing opener I Wanna Talk 2 U.

At first blush this collection seems rather straight-ahead because, the clattering programming and sonic swoops aside, these are taut and cohesive songs which err towards stuttering rock or his piano-framed ballads.

But that daring spirit becomes increasingly evident in edgy and sometimes menacing production on Face to the Sky and the title track where rock guitars and hip-hop beats collide around his disconcerting and gravitas-filled vocals, and strange voices behind the latter which wobbles on liquid beats and stabbing funk guitar).

Later he toys with Autotune (December Rains where “soft porn rioting in now on-line” and the floor-shuddering Mothra), ethno-forgery (the distorted Vampire Cafe) and songs which almost sound in danger of being washed away by haunting effects.

Cale is a rare one and although you need to decode his lyrics (think politics and dissent and the recent London riots, it helps) he again punches his way out of whatever box you might have had him in.

John Cale is interviewed about this album and his working practices here. Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column which scoops up releases by international artists, in much the same way as our SHORT CUTS column picks... > Read more

Toni Childs: Keep the Faith (MGM)

Toni Childs: Keep the Faith (MGM)

I didn't know this until recently, but apparently Toni Childs - who appeared with her impressive debut album Union 20 years ago - was really only big in Australia and New Zealand (she had half a... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

DOWN THE TRACKS; THE MUSIC THAT INFLUENCED LED ZEPPELIN (Shock DVD)

DOWN THE TRACKS; THE MUSIC THAT INFLUENCED LED ZEPPELIN (Shock DVD)

My dad had a witty but true observation of the New Zealand whisky 45 South: "Don't think of it as a whisky and it's a quite acceptable drink." The same might be said of this doco in... > Read more

GREAT LOST KIWI SINGLES: Rock follies

GREAT LOST KIWI SINGLES: Rock follies

They are found at the back of cartons at record fairs, under beds in long abandoned houses and sometimes stored lovingly -- but rarely played -- in the collections of the obsessives. They are those... > Read more