Boomkat Product Review:
John Cale's eagerly-awaited seventeenth (!) studio album features Actress, Laurel Halo, Weyes Blood, Tony Allen, Avey Tare, Panda Bear, Dev Hynes, Sylvan Esso, Tei Shi and Fat White Family. It's not bad at all, either.
It doesn't take long for "MERCY" to hit us right in the boomies. The album's opening, title track was produced by none other than Laurel Halo, who spices up Cale's blood-curdling wails with tense acidic squelches, electric piano keys and muted drums. As if this wasn't enough already, Actress steps up next - Darren Cunningham and John Cale together at last? Who'd believe it? Cale is fully in Cunningham's world too, humming and moaning underneath whooshing pads and chilly, echoing electronic pings. Honestly if Laurel Halo and Actress had produced the other ten tracks we'd be screaming about this one from the rooftops but sadly, it's not Christmas yet.
Cale's solo productions are serviceable and interesting but don't quite match the promise of those early collaborations. Team-ups with Sylvan Esso, Weyes Blood, and Animal Collective are worthwhile too, but we're still cross-eyed over that Actress one. Seriously - the last minute or so is just an unsettling electro snare and Cale sounding as if he's singing in the shower? We're gonna need a full album - make it happen?!