In fact, the most retro sounding aspect of the album is Cale’s belated use of the vocoder to heavily process his vocals. Lead single ‘Face To The Sky’ is a busy synthesis of piano and percussion with Cale’s modulating vocals sounding remote and disembodied, anchored by a roving, restless bass line. Danger Mouse collaboration ‘I Wanna Talk 2 U’ is a brooding, psychedelic pop number replete with vintage soul-styled acoustic guitar driving the collaboration into the realm of “old-school Detroit.”
In spite of the occasionally intrusive production, Cale has managed to carve out a remarkably relaxed-sounding album from his cauldron of effects and collaborations and there’s a certain glee with which he wields the vocoder. ‘Mothra’, in particular, benefits from the multi-tracked vocals bent out of shape while ‘Scotland Yard’ is a cocky strut through the neon synths of past and present and gallops with an invigorating swagger and style.
Cale’s association with the aforementioned Mr. Reed ensured the two will always be mentioned in the same breath. But while Lou knocks out third-rate metal cast offs with the frankly laughable likes of Metallica, John Cale’s latest is a visceral, thrilling ride, capable of soundtracking any seedy disco on the outskirts of Nookie Wood.