Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood - DOUBLE SIX
FILTER Grade: 84%
By Ken Scrudato on October 2, 2012
As French scribe Stendahl once observed, “The man of genius finds such joy in his art that he will work at it come hell or high water.” And four-and-a-half decades after the release of The Velvet Underground and Nico, it isn’t so much surprising that John Cale is still releasing records, but that his latest, the intriguingly titled Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood, should be shot through with such a forceful vitality and elation. Don’t come to it looking for melancholy orchestral sweeps or ponderous experimentation. Rather, it’s an immediate, utterly engrossing collection of hook-laden, distinctly modern rock songs, as vibrant as anything being turned out by the hipster kids. Indeed, with song titles like “Vampire Café” and “Mothra,” there is something almost playful about the proceedings. Musically, Cale comes full circle, with the influences of those he surely influenced (Talking Heads, LCD Soundsystem, even Cocteau Twins) popping up all over the place. His inimitable baritone, especially, is as commanding as ever. It’s anyone’s guess what he actually means when he cops to “doing hard time in the Nookie Wood,” but we’re pretty sure it’s something really fucking cool.