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John Cale - EP: Extra Playful

  by Jon Rogers

published: 10 / 9 / 2011

John Cale - EP: Extra Playful
Label: Double Six Records
Format: CDS


Sparkling new EP from member John Cale which lives up to its title and makes an excellent taster for an album which will be out next year

As the former Velvet Underground member and former disciple of La Monte Young nears his 70th year, you'd be perhaps expecting John Cale to be taking things a little easier and possibly resting on his laurels. After a career that has lasted around 50 years (and still going) he's certainly got nothing to prove to anyone anymore. But it seems from this five track EP that Cale is on spritely form and there's lots of life in him yet. Admittedly most of the songs on here aren't really that new as 'Hey Ray' was first aired live in 2007 and the lead track 'Catastrofuk' and 'Whaddaya Mean By That' got a live run through in 2008 but this is the first time they've been committed to vinyl. The title 'Extra Playful' says it all really. In the previous decade Cale was, rightly or wrongly, perhaps viewed as the 'serious', slightly po-faced avant-gardist who was perhaps more admired rather than genuinely liked as he executed well crafted songs, invariably on a piano. But with these five songs it seems Cale has loosened up, perhaps not taken things quite so seriously, and decided it was time for some fun. And cranked up the guitars and bass (as well as some adept use of effects) and relegated the piano to a less significant role. 'Catastrofuk' is all fuzzy and fucked up - and angry. It's perhaps the most animated Cale has been in years and gives a nod to releases like 'Fear' and 'Sabotage'. There's a sharp change of direction with the lanquid 'Whaddaya Mean By That' which is much more relaxed and covered in a summery haze. 'Hey Ray' takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the political situation in the 60s and takes in the Cold War, the Cuban revolution and ensuing 'crisis' as well as social unrest and upheaval: "The Russians are coming!... No they're not' [...] The Americans are coming!... Oh shit." Admittedly 'Pile A l'Heure' and 'Perfection' are rather off the pace and slighter efforts but 'Extra Playful' sees Cale on fine form and a sparkle in his eye. And nice little taster for the full album next year.

Track Listing:-
1 Catastrofuk
2 Whaddya Mean By That
3 Hey Ray
4 Pile A L’Heure
5 Perfection

Label Links:-

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