Top critical review
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on 1 February 2002
John Cale, the man who brought the electric viola to the forefront of rock with the Velvet Underground, made his debut with "Vintage Violence." With a title like that, and given Cale's musical history, you'd expect full on loud guitar, bass, organ and viola screaming into your ears. However, this is John Cale we're talking about. Never one to follow convention, his first solo album is tinged by a somewhat commerical sound, albeit a sound with mysterious undertones.
This album contains country-esque sounds on "Adelaide," haunting organ playing on the incredible "Ghost Story", melancholic guitar work on the delicate "Amsterdam," and a slow burning, epic, orchestral sound on the dreamy "Big White Cloud." From this selection it is clear there's a wide variety of influence.
I'll admit some tracks are bewildering, "Cleo", for example, is a simple, child-like song, although bizarrely charming.
To sum up, don't expect a blast of electric viola, that only appears on the bonus track "Wall," which is coupled with an "alternate" take of the jaunty "Fairweather Friend" (although I percieve little difference between the album version and the outtake), but prepared to be surprised. Whether this surprise is pleasnt or disappointing, is up to you to decide.