THERE is a touch of irony in Lou Reed being the most famous member of the Velvet Underground. When the band imploded, Reed went on to become a bastion of mainstream rock. Not so erstwhile colleague John Cale, who has always stayed faithful to the Velvet’s avant-garde philosophy.

Cale also confesses to liking new awkwardness and Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood is a dark mysterious place of fantasy – one that Cale says leaves people unsure so they have to think about things. Scotland Yard is a considered dialogue on weighty matters such as Leveson and last year’s riots. Yet above the dark fug of angst, it is one of his catchiest tune in years.

The same goes for the uber-funky I Wanna Talk 2 U. Indeed this whole album sees Cale’s wit honed to its sharpest and rarely has his plum-cake voice been richer. Intriguing stuff: Velvet Underground for the 21st century.