HoboSapiens - John Cale

Universal acclaim - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 16
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 16
  3. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. This is the Welsh iconoclast at his most elegant, energetic, and innovative.
  2. HoboSapiens is still dense and difficult for much of its running time, but the challenge comes from following the author through his many compositional twists rather than sitting through passages that drone on far too long.
  3. About half of it works reasonably well, though the end result is somehow closer to Low-era Bowie or Eno's Taking Tiger Mountain than anything truly contemporary or avant-garde.
  4. 100
    It is music whose scope, erudition and vitriol makes everything else in this year of exceptional musical timidity seem puny. [Nov 2003, p.106]
  5. Deep voiced, disquieting and bristling with intelligence, Hobo Sapiens is a reminder of how intoxicating an artist Cale can be. [Nov 2003, p.107]
  6. 90
    As complex, compelling, and at times unsettling a record as Cale has unleashed since 1982's Music For A New Society. [Oct 2003, p.105]
  7. A luxuriant union of black-ice electronics and chamber-pop instrumentation. [14 Oct 2004, p.98]
  8. An audacious marriage of restless experimentalism and eloquent melodic craft. [10 Sep 2004, p.165]
  9. His most direct, energised and modernist work in years.
  10. Like a Fellini movie, filled with rich textures and intriguing characters.
  11. 70
    He is clearly invigorated by the tensions between pretty and ugly, simplicity and chaos. [Nov 2004, p.130]
  12. Instead of coming off as dilettantish, Cale instead sounds intrigued with how these new tools can enhance his music.
  13. There seem to be enough ideas, stories, counter-melodies and references here for three albums worth of material - if for that reason alone, Hobo Sapiens ought to be one of the avant-pop templates for years to come.
  14. Hobo Sapiens is a confident and consistently rewarding record, and some of its songs rank alongside Cale's best. [#236, p.56]
  15. There's an unwavering confidence and muscular focus behind the music that holds from start to finish.
  16. This is an astounding body of work--and definitely one of the year’s best.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Feb 3, 2013
    Thank goodness I recently discovered this album. It's extraordinary. John Cale is amazing and displays his instrumental complexity, lyrical talents and wonderful voice on this album with moving effectiveness. I hope more people check out this striking collection of hauntingly beautiful songs, as well as the complete body of works by John Cale, a most-distinguished and accomplished artist. He is a true musical pioneer who never stops creating and growing, as evidenced by his latest album, Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood (love it also). Full Review »
  2. BJMorgan
    Oct 6, 2004
    This album, while a departure for Cale at times, is a fantastic masterpiece. It makes me wish Lou Reed could put out a cohesive, meaningful, and stunning like this. At this point, John Cale?s solo recordings far surpass that of his VU-counterpart. This record is evidence of a master songwriter. Full Review »
  3. danielr
    Sep 12, 2004
    Deepening with each listen, a playful, dark, haunting journey past Mondrian and Archimedes to Charlie Brown. Good grief.