Considering the darker surface of his former band, the Velvet Underground, John Cale's first solo album at first seems downright sunny. But, as with all of Cale's work, there are contrasts and tensions throughout. Even the album's title seems incongruous when weighed against the pop music contained within. The lyrics offer memorable phrases, but also poke around into dark corners with surreal giddiness. Where the Velvet Underground had an urban grittiness to its music, VINTAGE VIOLENCE sounds positively rural. There's an easy front porch playfulness to the songs, but it's also clear that a significant amount of effort went into their composition.
This is idiosyncratic but highly engaging folk-rock, and is unlike anything else John Cale has ever made. Though the songs are flavoured by instrumentation unique to his catalogue, each song bears the inimitable Cale stamp. VINTAGE VIOLENCE is replete with steel guitar and harmonica, as well as Cale's strident classically based piano playing his Welsh-inflected singing.
Big white cloud
Bring it on up
Fairweather friend (previously unreleased alternate version)
Wall (previously unreleased)