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John Cale - Vintage Violence CD (album) cover


John Cale


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3.38 | 26 ratings

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3 stars Interesting to see so few but highly mixed opinions about John Cale's solo debut album and so I should probably add balance to the debate with my take on Vintage Violence!

Cale made quite a name for himself as a member of the Velvet Underground where he managed to associate his presence with highly controversial avant-garde experimentation that he depicted on now renowned The Velvet Underground & Nico and its even more experimental followup White Light/White Heat. After leaving the band it was only a matter of time until Cale would bounce back into music, but was Vintage Violence actually the album that the audience expected of his debut album?

To say that the album is a departure from the Velvet Underground sound would be an understatement because despite the very avant-garde-looking album cover this is actually a very accessible album comprised entirely of fun little pop tunes. Still, it wouldn't be fair to dismiss Vintage Violence as just a simple pop album of its time since John Cale definitely adds his own unique approach to the music of the time. The material is very mixed featuring everything from straightforward rock arrangements, like on the opening tune Hello There, low-key acoustic guitar-driven ballads like Amsterdam and even stretches to sounds of Country on Bring It On Up!

Even if there are a few questionable choices made on a couple occasions these missteps can be attributed to the fact that this was Cale's debut album and it definitely didn't take him long to find his own unique style which already began forming here. My favorite compositions are the two slower performances titled Gideon's Bible and Ghost Story. It's actually pretty interesting to hear how much of a difference of style these pieces have between themselves although both have that great moody sense in their arrangements that can only be attributed to the artist in charge.

Vintage Violence is a joyful little debut album from the Velvet Underground-mastermind John Cale. It might not be his most experimental 35 minutes of material but you'll probably be too busy swept by these great tunes to notice that!

***** star songs: Gideon's Bible (3:21) Ghost Story (3:46)

**** star songs: Hello There (2:44) Adelaide (2:19) Cleo (2:33) Charlemagne (4:59) Bring It On Up (2:22) Amsterdam (3:12) Fairweather Friend (2:29)

*** star songs: Big White Cloud (3:29) Please (4:17)

Rune2000 | 3/5 |


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