Black Acetate - John Cale
Black Acetate Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 11 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: A bit more rock-oriented than its predecessor, 'Acetate' is nevertheless another experimental effort from the now-63-year-old Cale.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Black Acetate is in equal measures, serious and mocking, threatening and comforting, ambient and rowdy.
  2. 80
    Not every moment is transcendent.... But otherwise, this is that rare thing, an album that shares new pleasures each time you hear it, made by someone who's still excited by music. [Nov 2005, p.102]
  3. The sound of a pioneer who refuses to stop innovating. [8 Oct 2005, p.45]
  4. The noisy blackAcetate is the work of a man who is not going to go quietly. [Nov 2005, p.123]
  5. Where Cale flaps up is in not allowing himself enough space for nuance atop his overdriven guitars, forcing the deployment of gaudy keyboard settings to match the guitars’ "intensity" and even fumbling into a bona fide mall-punk chorus in "Perfect."
  6. Much of the album feels unfocused, as if Cale has become seduced by the smooth trickery of digital production at the expense of cogent songs built on icy melodies, slippery poetics and true invention -- three of Cale's enduring strengths sadly missing through much of the album's fifty-three minutes.
  7. Cale squanders whatever momentum he accrued on the estimable avant-pop of 2003's HoboSapiens by adorning these new songs with such unflattering, generic alternarock textures that they often render their author unrecognizable at best, and irrelevant at worst.

See all 11 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. kissj
    Nov 16, 2005
    some velvet sound
  2. Bobd
    Dec 23, 2005
    An intriguing, and irritating creation from the Welsh Madman, rife with heavy guitar noise, recalling his misspent "Comes Alive" period, and that train wreck of an album, "Carribean Sunset" (c.1984) Some tunes, such as "In a Flood" "Turn the Light On"and "Hush", perhaps "Wasteland" and "Gravel Drive" can be considered vintage Cale, but the avant-dance bit "BrotherMan" is annoying, witness these lyrics: "I write reams if this shit everyday... In the courtyard with Uncle Sam" progresses with a disjointed and irritating sound much like a muffled dental drill. Where Hobo Sapiens was a near- masterpiece of avant -garde stylist pop, and a return to form, Black Acetate is Cale and the band ready for playing the bar/rave circuit..not as great an accomplishment as his earlier Hobo Sapiens, or the Island years, but a reasonable effort and very in-your-face. Expand
  3. waltb
    Dec 18, 2005
    it's not his best, but it's better than HoboSapiens or Walking on Locusts.