INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Select SEPTEMBER 1991 - by Graham Linehan
JOHN CALE: FEAR
As the finishing touch to The Velvet Underground's extraordinary line-up, John Cale was perfect. Of aristocratic height, bearing and thought, Cale led his fellows through the final wall that separates the legendary from the merely wonderful.
With his solo albums, Cale went this way and that, pushing as many buttons as he could to get the wired rat of his mind moving down the right tunnels. With Fear (1974) he was unerringly precise, and the result was a beautiful, doomed, edgy masterpiece.
Fear, the follow-up to 1973's masterful Paris 1919, saw Cale allowing formal elements into his songs, only to turn them upside down - something that made Brian Eno's presence on the album all the more apt. Thus, the stop-start melody of Fear Is A Man's Best Friend sounds almost right, and Barracuda saunters along like regular rock 'n' roll until his extraordinary bumblebee viola crashes into the thing.
Elsewhere, he seems relaxed. It was 1974, and Cale was apparently into trying anything as his prime medication. Whether that had anything to do with the warm loveliness of tracks like You Know More Than I Know and Ship Of Fools is debatable, but it didn't hurt any. Fear is magnificent.