Black Acetate is more appealing than Hobo Sapiens in its greater variety of styles and stronger melodies. It opens with the funky Outta The Bag where Cale sings falsetto. The next two, For A Ride and Brotherman, are a bit messy an ultimately forgettable.
The first highlight comes in the form of Satisfied, a slow and tuneful ballad reminiscent of his Paris 1919 album. In A Flood is memorable slow masterpiece, a blend of the sorrowful and eerie in the lyrics and lovely instrumentation.
Hush has an edgy feel and funky undertone, in the same vein as Outta The Bag but without the falsetto. Gravel Drive is another atmospheric gem with beautiful background vocals and chiming guitar, quite an evocative song of loss and nostalgia.
The album's catchiest pop song is called Perfect, an uptempo number with a driving beat and plenty of hooks, like something from the Island years. There are great tempo variations on Woman with its complex arrangement and appealing chorus. This one grows on you.
The love song Wasteland has a memorable tune, flowing arrangement and gorgeous piano flourishes. Turn The Lights On is a driving rock song with a lilting tempo and prominent guitars, and the album concludes with Mailman (The Lying Song), a mid-tempo rock ballad with charming moments and noteworthy piano and viola.
In my opinion, Black Acetate offers more variety and memorable songs than Hobo Sapiens. In short, a typical John Cale album with at least four masterpieces in the form of Satisfied, In A Flood, Gravel Drive and Perfect, a lot that is good, like Woman, Wasteland and Turn The Lights On, and some unnecessary indulgence. Overall a great return to form and an essential album for John Cale fans.