“Animal Serenade” (Sire/Reprise)
This two-disk live album recorded in Los Angeles last June spans Reed’s career from the Velvet Underground through his early solo work to last year’s “The Raven.” With longtime guitarist Mike Rathke and bassist Fernando Saunders, tenor harmonies from vocalist Antony, and cellist Jane Scarpantoni playing the role of John Cale, the arrangements emphasize melodic counterpoint and are striking for their stark beauty – imagine the Velvet Underground as a chamber ensemble. Reed’s gruff vocals and crunchy guitar provide contrast and ground the effort, a worthy introduction to Reed’s body of work. [ 4/11/04 ]
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