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Shifty Adventures In Nookie Wood

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iTunes Review

Seventy years old and still more musically adventurous than his peers, John Cale teams up with Danger Mouse for the relentlessly catchy collaboration "I Wanna Talk 2 U." "Scotland Yard" turns up the paranoia with keyboards that evoke a world spiraling out of control. Cale's never been one to play it safe; even his most commercial moments are littered with experimental quirks that underscore his avant-garde classical origins. He messes with Auto-Tune for the club-ready "December Rains," in which he sounds like a sedate composer surrounded by technological wizardry. "Nookie Wood" throws synthetic freakouts into Cale's spy-novel attack. Emerging from the craziness is a sweet love song, "Living with You," which beats with the feeling of a human heart after all the glitz and glamour subsides. Cale is far too talented a musician to make music the easiest or most accessible way. He sometimes overthinks a situation, but he always finds something unexpected on his trip to the other end of the recording studio.

Customer Reviews

What if John Cale made a new record and nobody noticed?

These songs are Cale at his “poppiest”, with catchy hooks and nothing particularly angry or avantgarde. The songwriting and production is solid, quirky and in good humor, perhaps most comparable to “Walking On Locusts”, but also not out of line with his other recent records. Inexplicable use of auto-tune effects on his “December Rains” and “Mothra” vocals are distressing. Otherwise, a pleasant listen.

Cale's A-game is still on!

There are some real gems here. I'm particularly liking the first three as of late, but the whole album fits nicely into Cale's constantly delivering career. Wonderful, groovy, mysterious stuff!!

Radically, essentially new...

What continues to astonish in John Cale's later work is how he's mastered pop and alternative idioms to the point that what's signal about his music is its intense, wise self-consciousness. This is Beatles White Album stuff, and judging it according to its production or amusement-values is like assessing a Velazquez portrait as being a convincing picture of an old, dead person. Velazquez, and John Cale, go a bloody lot farther than that. This work is worth dwelling in, if you're smart enough.


Born: March 9, 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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