Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood
Seven years after the release of his last album, John Cale has released his fifteenth studio album. For over four decades, Cale has been famous for being one of the founding members of legendary rock band the Velvet Underground and for his own solo material. In his long musical career, Cale isn’t afraid to try one genre at least once. With that being said, Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood is a very good album. While it might not be a classic, it certainly is an impressive piece of work from the 70-year-old Cale.
As mentioned before, Cale will try any genre at least once. This album sees Cale experimenting with electronic music. While that may sound like a turn off for most people, Cale makes it work. “I Wanna Talk 2 You” is the album’s first song and it’s great to hear Cale’s voice after all these years. Cale collaborates with Danger Mouse on the first track, which is pretty interesting. Hearing all the electronic sounds might be strange first but in the end, “I Wanna Talk 2 You” is a great track. “Scotland Yard” is a great sounding track. The song takes advantage of the electronic sounds used on this album. Cale’s voice on this track, although a bit aged, sounds like it did on his earlier albums. “Face to the Sky” might be my personal favorite song off the album. It’s interesting to hear Cale use Autotune (if not, then some other kind of sound effect makes his voice sound robotic) on one of his own tracks. The music itself makes the track even more brilliant and quiet catchy as well. “December Rains”, at first, sounds like a weak track but the lyrics are actually quite clever. “With Google getting on your nerves/And politics left and right” sings Cale “Kiss your private life goodbye/Lights out say goodnight.” Cale also declares on this track “I’m trying to keep the noise down”. Sure you are, John. The second half of the album fall at little bit on the weak side but it’s pretty good. “Mothra” sounds like a song that could have been on Slow Dazzle, minus all the synthesizers and noises. “Living With You” is a song that’s begging to be played on the radio with its melodic feel.
Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood is a very good album from John Cale. I’m pretty impressed that Cale can still make great music at 70 years old. If you are new a stranger to Cale’s solo career, don’t start here. I recommend you get Paris 1919, Fear, Slow Dazzle, and Helen of Troy first (the latter three can be purchased together on the two-disc set The Island Years). As for other Cale fans, you shouldn’t be disappointed.