Photo: Madeleine McManus

John Cale teams with Weyes Blood for the imposing “Story of Blood”, announces guest-packed new album

Welsh icon John Cale has announced a new album called MERCY, his first album of all-new material in a decade, which will arrive on January 20 through Double Six / Domino. It boasts features from Animal Collective, Sylvan Esso, Laurel Halo, Tei Shi, Actress. However, it is the collaboration with Weyes Blood, “Story of Blood”, which is the first to be aired (following on from “Night Crawling”, released earlier this year).

Cale says: “I’d been listening to Weyes Blood’s latest record and remembered Natalie’s puritanical vocals. I thought if I could get her to come and sing with me on the ‘Swing your soul’ section, and a few other harmonies, it would be beautiful. What I got from her was something else! Once I understood the versatility in her voice, it was as if I’d written the song with her in mind all along. Her range and fearless approach to tonality was an unexpected surprise. There’s even a little passage in there where she’s a dead-ringer for Nico.”

“Story of Blood” feints one way with a melodic piano intro, but then drops the hammer with a heavy wall of synths and drum beats. Cale presides over this wall of icy textures with enormous presence, beseeching the listener to “swing your soul”. Weyes Blood remains elusive, adding ghostly backing vocals throughout the track, giving it depth and an unsettlingly human air. It’s a compelling piece, aided by the subtly shifting arrangement, which keeps you helplessly locked in for its extensive runtime.

Check out the video for “Story of Blood” below or find it on streaming platforms.

John Cale’s MERCY comes out on January 20 through Double Six / Domino (pre-order/save). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

He’s also got these dates ahead:

Sun 23rd Oct – The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh
Mon 24th Oct – Barbican, York
Fri 28th Oct – Llais Festival, Cardiff *
Mon 31st Oct – Playhouse Whitley Bay, Whitley Bay
Thu 3rd Nov – Birmingham Town Hall, Birmingham
Mon 7th Nov – De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea
Wed 9th Nov – The London Palladium, London
Thun 10th Nov – Cambridge Corn Exchange, Cambridge
Fri 11th Nov – Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool

* = John Cale + special guests, 80th Birthday Celebration