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.
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