Tuesday, December 15, 2009

LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends

(EMI/DFA, 2007)

LCD Soundsystem pulls a nifty trick on the multi-part “All My Friends” single, drafting John
Cale to cover the title track on one version of the 7”, and Franz Ferdinand on the other. Cale even gets A-side honors, giving the song more of an ominous Bowie/Eno feel by emphasizing the stark and jagged elements of its composition as he half-bellows what are actually quite reflective lyrics. The LCD Soundsystem take is included on the other side, and, while one of the band’s best tracks, it adds little value here in standard LP form beyond making clear, in this context, that the song’s repeating piano line likely owes a fair amount to Cale’s influence (for example, see his New York in the 1960s series of releases). But even if one already owns Sound of Silver, this is well worth finding for the excellent Cale cover. Heck, might as well get the Franz Ferdinand 7”, too; it sounds exactly like you’d expect it to sound and thus isn’t too bad.

Playing this record and digging out my copy of Fear has renewed my interest in John Cale’s catalog, so I headed over to eBay, where I bought Vintage Violence, Paris 1919, Helen of Troy, Animal Justice, and Sabotage to supplement the handful of LPs currently in my clutches. My question now is whether it’s worth pursuing his music after 1980, having heard and loathed both Caribbean Sunset and John Cale Comes Alive. “All My Friends” suggests that all hope is not lost… any hidden goodies from his later career?


AP (DOA) said...

Cale's 'Fragments of A Rainy Season' live album from 1992 is really great, especially for de-polishing tracks lost in '80s mire (like 'Dying On The Vine') through sparse piano and acoustic guirar arrangements. Hard to find but worth it...

Donald Brown said...

Bravo for getting up to date on the Cale corpus! One of my faves of all-time, in his '70s releases. The '80s are bad for him, true. But you don't want to miss 'Music for a New Society' (1982). There are few albums as uncompromising.

After 'Fragments' (I second what AP says), he has the interesting '90s product, 'Walking on Locusts' ('96), then in this century, he comes on strong with the uneven 'Hobo Sapien,' and the not-to-be-missed 'Black Acetate' (2005).