John Cale | HoboSapiens – CD Review


As the most accomplished musician in Velvet Underground, as well as a prolific
producer, John Cale has been teetering of the fence of avant-garde and pop music
for almost 40 years. His solo albums resonate with a sweet aftertaste, leaving
much to the imagination, while filling out the groove with irresistible, near-accessible
delicacies. Some of it comes from working with a lot of prototype punksters
like The Stooges, Nico and Patti Smith. Little wonder such eclecticism comes
full circle on HoboSapiens, a new collection of songs from
Cale in nearly a decade, ripe with introspection and texture — enough
to even keep the 61-year-old in the vanguard. Unpredictability is the modus
operandi as Cale swings from one end of the spectrum to the other. The Radiohead-like
opener “Zen” invokes a surreal build-up that keenly draws you in
for the folly of “Reading My Mind.” Cale lightens the load when
he launches into “Things,” with its lilting Talking Heads bounce
and oblique refrain, “the thing you do in Denver when you’re dead…”
Sounds like the people in Denver have a new theme song. Elsewhere, the haunting
flow of “Magritte,” the pop polarity of “Archimedes,”
and sumptuous wisp of “Bicycle,” featuring the tuneful laughter
of Brian Eno’s daughters (!), complete a stirring and dreamlike picture of a
contemporary, ethereal yet heterogeneous dish of digital delights, curried and
baked to perfection.

~ Shawn Perry

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