John Cale Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood

John Cale Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood
7
For better or worse, John Cale's first album in seven years is one of his most accessible. Rather than giving in to his outlandishly adventurous side, he's made a pop record, one where he collaborates with Danger Mouse and gets his hands on an Auto-tuner. And it works. Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood is a solid effort that would sound remarkably normal if it wasn't for the fact that it's by the most experimental member of the Velvet Underground. That means there are little, strange touches that are very easy to overlook, thanks to the glossy studio polish. And while he dances around from sweeping pop tunes ("Living With You") to slow jams ("Mary"), the 70-year-old sounds equally comfortable and convincing no matter what he's doing. Although his overall restraint is admirable, it's hard not to wish that he hadn't grabbed his viola or screamed at some point just to shake things up though. Nevertheless, this is still a remarkably enjoyable album. (Domino)