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John Cale - Slow Dazzle CD (album) cover


John Cale


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2.71 | 21 ratings

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Easy Money
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Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Slow Dazzle more or less picks up where Cale left off with his previous album, Fear. Both albums feature a similar mix of sentimental ballads and harsher rockers, with the difference being that Slow Dazzle has a bigger slicker orchestrated sound and production, and less of Fear's harsh proto-punk vibe. As usual with any Cale album, the songwriting on here is classy and the lyrics portend to be mini classic novellas, and as usual, some of his attempts at high art in rock are more successful than others.

Album opener Mr Wilson rates with the best of Cale's ballads on the beautiful but ironically titled Vintage Violence. From there the rest of side one slowly descends in quality till we get to Rolleroll, an annoying dirge that has Cale shouting the title phrase constantly towards the end backed by 'gospel vocals'.

Side two likewise opens with the best when John's cover of Heartbreak Hotel comes crawling out of the darkness. Comfortable as a beautiful balladeer and a proto-punker, Hotel has Cale pre-dating post-punk gothic rock with this dark droning deconstructionist version of the Presley classic that features futuristic 'scary' synthesizer textures from Brian Eno. Hotel is nice stuff, great dark humor and way ahead of it's time. Ski Patrol, which follows, has John back to his pleasant artsy pastoral mellow rock mode. I'm not the Loving Kind is nice, but the chorus comes on a little too heavy. The last two songs on side two end the side on a bad note, particularly the narrative on The Jeweller.

I guess you could call this a typical mid-70s album by John Cale, some good stuff, and some not so good.

Easy Money | 3/5 |


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