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John Cale - Fear CD (album) cover

FEAR

John Cale

 

Prog Related

3.25 | 13 ratings

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js (Easy Money)
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Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars It's well known that the punk rock movement resulted from a couple of NYC garage bands touring England in the late 70s when British youth were restless and looking for something new. But what is often overlooked is that even as soon as the early 70s a similar tendency towards the harsh and urban had already been taking place in the music of many British art rockers. John Cale, David Bowie, Robert Fripp, Brian Eno, Phil Manzenera, Peter Hammil, and others were increasingly releasing recordings that were influenced by the fading of the hippie movement as well as the late 60s work of The Velvet Underground and Iggy Pop. To say that Cale was 'influenced' by either of these artists is totally misleading though in that he was an early founder of the Underground as well as a producer for Iggy and the Stooges. Unlike the other art rockers who were becoming more punk, Cale was a part of this dark side of rock from the beginning.

Not all is punky and harsh on here though. Many of these songs recall the beautiful pastoral air of earlier Cale albums. Some of these more laid back songs such as Buffalo Ballet and Ship of Fools are classic sentimental Cale masterpieces, while others such as Emily and You Know More than I Know come across as maudlin and insincere. Of the more rockin proto-punk numbers, Gun takes the cake. This is one of the best hard rockers that John has ever recorded. I'll never forget the first time I heard Gun, music this harsh was hard to come by in the early to mid 70s. Phil Manzenera's ultra-treated Enofied guitar slashes and burns while the barroom piano bangs away and Cale spits out harsh narrative lyrics that are reminiscent of modern film noir masterpiece Fargo. Bad people with bad plans that go wrong amid a wave of stupid violence and mayhem. Towards the end of the song Eno's guitar treatments take over the chaos, Phil Manzenera's amazing guitaristics never sounded better. Unfortunately there are also a couple other songs on here that are just plain bad.

If you are a John Cale fan, there are some good songs on here and it is well worth owning just for that.

js (Easy Money) | 3/5 |

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