Two great songs
Pieter | Johannesburg | 07/31/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"John Cale is a genius with an uneven track record. He has created as many masterpieces as flops but even the latter normally include one or two great songs.
Artificial Intelligence (1985) is not one of his better albums. Everytime The Dogs Bark is somewhat messy without a coherent melody. Dying On The Vine has more of a tune and poetic lyrics, whilst The Sleeper is a slow track with a jazzy feel that doesn't really go anywhere.
Cale's characteristic angry rock surfaces on Vigilante Lover, a song with some great imagery but unfortunately the lack of melody makes it quite forgettable. Chinese Takeaway is an atmospheric instrumental infused with some shouts and laughter and Song Of The Valley is a brooding ballad with interesting instrumentation.
The meat of the album is found in Fade Away Tomorrow, a driving rock song in the mould of that brilliant sequence of Dirty Ass Rock `n Roll/Darling I Need You/Roll A Roll on his Slow Dazzle album. It has a powerful hook and is embellished with beautiful female backing vocals. Black Rose with its swaying rhythms and whistling has its moments too.
The album concludes with the messy Satellite Walk, a jerky rock number without a discernable tune. The only tracks on Artificial Intelligence that stick in the mind are Fade Away Tomorrow and Black Rose. I recommend this album only to the most dedicated John Cale fans and I award it three stars because Cale is one of my favourite musicians. The real rating is probably closer to two or two and a half stars.
oberon | eugene, or | 01/24/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While not one of Cale's "masterpieces," this brooding work from the 80s has a wonderfully melancholy and even ominous feel, created by the sparse, electronic arrangements and jerky rhythmic texture. If you want bright pop songs with tight arrangements, forget it. Cale has never been good at making pop without quirks anyhow, and we wouldn't want it any other way. But if you are in the mood for music that is lyrically suggestive, sparse, with heaving rhythms and dark undertones like the background of a William Blake illuminated print, then check this out."