ALBUM REVIEW: John Cale lights the way for ‘Mercy’

ALBUM REVIEW: John Cale lights the way for 'Mercy'

John Cale, John Cale Compassion

John Cale, “Compassion.”

John Cale‘s musical life is split between rock and roll and avant-garde. Founding father of The Velvet Underground and droner-in- Chief’s newest album, Mercyit feels extra like minimalist compositions La Monte Young Greater than VU’s enjoyable and loud “Candy Jane”. However at 80, that is in all probability to be anticipated from Cale and his seventeenth solo album. And given the state of the world, it isn’t stunning that the album was a bleak and pessimistic affair full of pompous synthesizers and implicit political commentary.

For essentially the most half, Cale’s vocal model is on par with Tony Bennett and Gregorian Chant: mournful and moody, but additionally wealthy, soulful, and clearly having a great time. Cale, “The bells are ringing, the snow is falling/ The choir ends his tune/ Your footsteps on the steps, meet on the River Home/ To say goodbye”, to say goodbye/ Was it your voice or your voice?

Taking part in this album at an inexpensive quantity over a Walmart’s PA system in rural America will surely be an enchanting sociological experiment. I do not know what clients would do, however I am positive they’re going to discover after some time. John Cale composes elevator music for an unbelievable parallel universe through which David Bowie is President of the USA. In Marilyn Monroe’s Legs (Magnificence Elsewhere), translucent synthesizers ooze beneath beeps and gags in a cavernous dreamscape. Think about the sonic richness of Lifeless Can Dance trapped in amber.

Singer-songwriter on “Story of Blood” Weyes blood, considered one of many fruitful collaborations on document. Natalie Mering affords some backing vocals on one of many extra upbeat songs on the album, with a soupy hip-hop on the keyboard blades and heavy drum and bass. One other reside observe on the album is “Eternal Days” that includes Baltimore’s Animal Collective. Strings and percussion filigree two-chord vamp.

One of many promoting factors of the album is Cale’s superb artwork of his political digs.

“What’s the authorized standing of ice?/ The place does it come from and the place does it go?/ Floats on prime with vanilla/ Liquor on the underside/ I do not know,” she sings, “Authorized Standing of Ice.” Sharp symbolism and language owes a lot to the poetry of Langston Hughes in addition to to David Bowie.

Within the album’s opening and title tune, Cale stated, “Lives matter/ Lives do not matter/ The Wolves are preparing/ The wolves are preparing/ They will get extra weapons/ Rolling within the snow and dirt/ Lights bursting above” Whereas a lot of the political rhetoric in common tradition in the present day has the nuance and subtlety of a hockey combat, Cale ‘s thorny critique sounds downright refined.

Different highlights embrace Cale’s collaboration with electro-pop duo Sylvan Esso, “Time Stands Nonetheless” and “I Know You are Joyful,” which juxtaposes a sparse acoustic guitar with a pulsating bass drum. Tei ShiColombian-Canadian singer-songwriter who sang the tune’s ecstasy within the final moments.

In a cooler world, John Cale and comparable albums Mercy sound pablum would occupy the cultural house through which spoiled balladlers like Michael Bolton and Adele now reside, a balm for the human situation fairly than a crucible for self-reflection and therapeutic. Mercy If all of us finally begin microdosing as a society, NPR might be cross-song music. In truth, the album’s artwork makes a fairly good argument for harmonizing as we flip it on and off.

Comply with creator David Gill at: