Fear is the first of John Cale’s 3-album mid-1970’s hot-streak, and a very strong example of Cale in dramatic songwriter mode. It is at once stagey (especially when just Cale and the piano), experimental, and a little bit punky. Also features Richard Thompson and Brian Eno! White vinyl reissue, limited to 1000 copies only.
9/10 Robert Jones Customer review, 4th August 2016
John Cale was a pivotal member of the Velvet Underground, and he was also responsible for producing the iconic debuts of the Stooges and Nico at the tail end of the 1960s. His debut for Island Records in 1974 was a mixture of elegance and aural fury. The title track was a brilliant college of art school rock and berserk rage. Cale sounds utterly demented during the final chords of the song, and that became became a major focus of his stage performances.
However it is the magnificent "Gun", with its' loping stuttering riff which captures Cale at his best. Phil Manazera's solo with exotic treatments by Brian Eno, is a reminder that he remains the UK's most underrated guitarist. Why he has never been given his due accolades fills me with astonishment, because many guitarists would give their eye teeth for this type of performance. This is a fine early 70s album that never really got the shouts at the time. It's a similar story with "Five Leaves". "Clear Spot" "Starsailor", "Raw Power" etc.
However, time has revealed it to be the marvellous gem it always was.
8/10 Jack Customer review, 15th May 2016
Fear laid the groundwork for the diverse and highly emotional nature of the 3 "Island" records, and is the first to introduce Cale's slightly reinvented, dichotomous modus operandi of balancing beautiful, sophisticated pop and tortured rage. Here Cale dives headlong into the dark, sometimes violent emotional turmoil prevalent on all three Island records. Cale successfully ties a lot of varied stylistic threads together with his impassioned singing, grim/sardonic lyrics, and a knack for engaging hooks.
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- Fear by John Cale
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