John Cale: Shifty Adventures In Nookie Wood


John Cale
Shifty Adventures In Nookie Wood
(Domino/Double Six)
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

As Lou Reed’s Welsh born adversary/partner in the Velvet Underground, and occasional musical cohort afterwards, John Cale hasn’t had the influence or prolific career of Mr. Walk on the Wild Side. But he has produced intermittently stunning moments over the decades, even if those have often been so far under the radar as to be mere blips. This is the 70 year old Cale’s first studio release in seven years and the attention taken with production, multiple overdubs, lyrics and overall sound is immediately evident. Typically, the songs are an obtuse, unsettling lot, driven by Cale’s dusky, murky voice and drum loops that are by turns metronomic and experimental. It’s a gloomy but not depressing affair as bizarre, often avant-garde lyrics spar with arty songs that won’t be troubling commercial radio playlists. That shouldn’t bother established fans who are used to Cale’s erratic albums since his first solo release back in 1970. He’s open to new sounds though, bringing in Danger Mouse to produce the opening “I Wanna Talk 2 You,” arguably his most commercial endeavor in some time. Cale even gets a bit funky in “Mothra,” complete with distorted vocals that add to the weirdness quotient always bubbling under this material. This is far from conventional rock, but it’s rock as viewed through Cale’s dark shades and skewed outsider sensibility and as such, one of his more successful and consistent outings.

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