John Cale: M:FANS / Music For a New Society (Domino/Double Six) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Issue # 56 - Best of 2015 - Father John Misty and Wolf Alice

FANS / Music For a New Society

Domino/Double Six

Jan 20, 2016 John Cale Bookmark and Share

What’s left for John Cale? The guy has spent decades making extraordinary avant-garde, classically-inspired rock records in New York and helped to reinvent rock music as part of The Velvet Underground. He is now 73 years old and few would begrudge the curmudgeonly genius his retirement.

It seems retirement is far from his mind. His latest project is to revisit and reinvent his own work, namely his great “lost” album Music for a New Society. The semi-improvised original recording back in 1982 wasfamouslya torturous process for the Welshman, so as he goes back and reworks this masterpiece, no one could accuse him of resting on his laurels.

M:FANS samples the original recordings and adds Cale’s later-career affectations (and in Cale’s case, I use the term as a compliment). That is, to say, a darker rock sound. The opener, “Taking Your Life In Your Hands,” dovetails its warm keys with a jagged, stabbing distorted guitar and roughs up the bass line that underpins it. “Changes Made” is heavier and funkier. “Sanctus (Sanities)” is almost unrecognisable from the original: distorted and obfuscated behind electronic bass and percussion that would not sound out of place on a Caribou record.

Music for a New Society was characterised by its sparseness and the space between its sounds. M:FANS fills them completely and yet retains the sense of dark weirdness; it is a completely different album that conveys the same disturbing, disturbed atmosphere. At 73 years of age, Cale is still making some of the most ambitious, exciting music out there. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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