Nookie Wood is brilliantly produced - in fact probably the most satisfying production I've heard in the last couple of years. What Kanye attempts on Yeezus, Cale achieves here.
Nookie Wood is a kind of crepuscular, demi-monde alternate version of the world we live in today. The track Scotland Yard could be the soundtrack to the whole weird Snowden/ Prism story and presciently enough was released months prior to the revelations, and got associated with Leveson instead, which is fair enough. Elsewhere the song December Rains humorously makes mention of Google "getting on your nerves". But neither of these songs is dark or vituperative, instead Cale just appears to be acknowledging just how weird the present is.
Face to the Sky is a great listen at this time of year (as is most of this record, it's well autumnal innit). Slightly off-centre half-light atmospheric vibe:
"She is standing, listening to the wind Dark is lifting, a face to the sky A homecoming laughter swirling around her
Despite being a long-standing Velvet Underground fan and having owned 'Paris 1919' for over twenty years, I'd never seriously explored Cale's solo work before this year. I'd found it to be the most rewarding body of work I'd come across for a long while. This new album is in a genre I virtually never listen to, but as with all Cale's work it's composed with great intelligence. Someone in a comments thread described Cale as an 'ageing hipster' but that's exactly what he isn't: he gives you a really smart and awake view on contemporary political and social issues. Switch off the news and listen to this, you'll feel well informed about what's going on in the world.
Only listened to this album once since buying yesterday but this is an impressive, but not spectacular album from John Cale. Maybe this is the most impressive thing though, how many musicians continue to release good, strong albums into their 70s? Where most artists settle into trotting around on Greatest Hits tours and wallowing into nostalgia, how many prefer to record, not only new albums, but albums that sound nothing like thier previous work? Cale's working philosophy is one to be applauded. To be fired with the same creativity and pioneering spirit that he had 50 years ago is testamount to his originality and comitment to being an creditable artist, rather than a walking jukebox. But what of the album itself? After reading reviews talking of a hip hop influence my hopes weren't particular high, but I was nciely suprised. The album is full of squelchy electronica and grubby funk basslines. His collaboration with Dangermouse sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, but isnt. Luckily, he doesnt attempt to rap though! Merely Cale dabbling with electronics. if anything it sounds like the Beastie Boys last (unfortunately it will be their last) album The Hot Sauce Committee Part 2, except with the umistakeable voice of Mr Cale smeared over it. The standout track for me was "Scotland Yard". An odd and deeply weird album but original, different and fascinating. John Cale continues to be... John Cale.
I can't remember an album (Long Play or CD) by John Cale that wasn't good, extraordinary or simply a masterpiece. I have no words for this artist, just I recommend this item for anyone who loves music. Thank you very much.
I read a review in Uncut magazine which praised this album and promptly dumped it with six stars! I read an account somewhere else which said this LP amounted to Cale's adventures in dance music.
The lack of quality reviewers for someone as important to the rock world as Cale is tremendously disappointing (but perhaps shouldn't be surprising). At time of writing, there are already two reviews on this page by people who clearly know what they're on about.
If you have never heard John Cale before, aside from his VU work, this is a good place to start. I'm a little biased because I've immersed myself in all of his solo work and aside from a lean (but still interesting) period in the mid-Eighties, I love every album.
But to try to be objective, it's fair to say 'Nookie Wood' continues the hot streak evident on 'Hobosapiens' and 'blackAcetate'-- while not as epic as the former, it's not as abrasive as the latter.
For those that were listening, last year's EP provides a worthy primer. I think it's one of the best albums of the year.