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The Island Years

John Cale

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Album Review

This double CD combines all three of John Cale's mid-'70s Island albums (Fear, Slow Dazzle, and Helen of Troy) into one package, with the addition of some interesting bonus tracks: outtakes from Slow Dazzle and Helen of Troy, the B-side "Sylvia Said," "Leaving It up to You" (which only appeared on early copies of Helen of Troy before "Coral Moon" took its place), and "Mary Lou" (from the 1977 Guts compilation). This was undeniably one of Cale's most fertile periods. There is also no other body of work from the mid-'70s with such a confluence of listenable FM radio-ready tunes and sneaky, at times subversive experimentation, its eclecticism encompassing art rock, macabre recitations, and Beach Boy pastiches.

Biography

Born: March 09, 1942 in Garnant, Wales

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

While John Cale is one of the most famous and, in his own way, influential underground rock musicians, he is also one of the hardest to pin down stylistically. Much has been made of his schooling in classical and avant-garde music, yet much of what he's recorded has been decidedly song-oriented, dovetailing close to the mainstream at times. Terming him a forefather of punk and new wave isn't exactly accurate either. Those investigating his work for the first time under that premise may be surprised...
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