I'll stick my neck out here- the Velvets, for all their reputation as terrifying, noisy avant-garde terrorists, are actually at their best when gentle, warm and melodic (eg Sunday Morning), and this album proves it. Amazingly for a Velvets album, it has (can you believe this?) production values, as well as highlights aplenty- such as Lou Reed's thrilling rhythm guitar solo on What Goes On, and the blissful trio Candy Says, Jesus and Pale Blue Eyes.
The real peak however, comes at the middle of the album- the soaring triumvirate of the Stonesy romp Beginning to see the Light (Lou sound like he's actually enjoying himself here, listen to him whoop at the chorus!), the almost catatonic I'm Set Free, and the jangly That's the Story of My life, which verges on being a throw-away track, but in the best possible way- in the way that only a great songwriter like Lou Reed could get away with.
The old adage about every Velvet's fan forming a band seems borne out by this record too. The blissed-out solo on I'm Set Free could be an offcut from the Pixies' Bossanova, while The Murder Mystery's bass riff must surely have inspired Joy Division (incidentally Ian Curtis named his dog Candy after the opening track!), while even After Hours has something of Oasis' Digsy's Dinner about it. It may not always quite reach the soaring peaks of the first album (like Venus in Furs), but overall its probably a better album, the Velvets having ditched the unlistenable elements without losing their alternative credentials (which would go completely out the window with the next album, Loaded).