Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood
By David Chiu
Forty-five years since stamping his reputation on the Velvet Underground’s landmark debut record, The Velvet Underground and Nico, John Cale continues to compose and craft music that is in the vein of art rock. His excellent new album, Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood, sounds fresh and dynamic through the incorporation of contemporary beats and electronic textures. His embrace of the current sounds is evident of that is Cale’s collaboration with Danger Mouse “I Wanna Talk 2U,” which is kind of an electro/funk/folk hybrid. Despite their arty inclinations, the album’s tracks are also tight, focused and melodic: from the the industrial-sounding “Nookie Wood” and “Mothra,” and the aggressive and driving Scotland Yard and ; to the ethereal and dreamy “Sandman (Flying Dutchman)” and the slow and lovely ballad “Mary” and; the artist even displays a dance music sensibility with “December Rains.” Cale’s monotone and charismatic singing provides a chilly yet soothing counterpoint to the music, which borders on the avant garde and mainstream rock. Like that of the work he made with his former legendary band from the late ‘60s, Cale proves with Shifty that music has no boundaries—Rather than looking back in a musical sense, he’s moving forward.