After the sombre artistic highpoints of New York, Songs for Drella (with John Cale) and Magic and Loss, Lou Reed took 4 years to release follow-up Set the Twilight Reeling in 1996. The album opens with ragged guitars and puerile lyrics ("you scream, I steam, we all want egg cream") on Egg Cream, a track which finishes with his trashiest climax since the noisier moments of The Blue Mask.
He's still able to release classy ballads such as NYC Man and Trade In, which have a breezy, carefree tone, though the latter finishes with some guitar muscle. Elsewhere we get the pounding guitar strum of Finish Line (finishing with a particularly satisfying piano coda) and the old school soul of Hang On To Your Emotions. Sex With Your Parents and Hookywooky are a little too throwaway to convince before the gnarled rock of The Proposition and Adventurer get things back on track.
Later, heavy guitar workout Riptide sees Lou Reed very consciously going for the Hendrix/guitar hero vibe and succeeding on an almost eight minute long guitar assault. The title track is a classic Reed album closer, the acoustic soul ballad ambles along pleasantly before things speed up thrillingly for a final guitar workout.