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Nick Cave

  • From Her To Eternity,
  • First Born Is Dead,
  • Your Funeral My Trial,
  • Tender Prey,
  • The Good Son,
  • Henrys Dream,
  • Live Seeds,
  • Let Love In,
  • Murder Ballads,
  • The Boatmans Call,
  • No More Shall We Part,
  • Nocturama,
  • Abattoir Blues/The Lyre
  • Of Orpheus,
  • B-Sides And Rarities,
  • Grinderman,
  • Dig! Lazarus Dig!,
  • Grinderman 2,
  • Push The Sky Away,

  • Album Reviews |

    Nick Cave

    the boatmans call tender prey the good son henrys dream abbatoir blues

    From Her To Eternity 8 ( 1984 )
    Avalanche / Cabin Fever! / Well Of Misery / From Her To Eternity / In The Ghetto / The Moon Is In The Gutter / Saint Huck / Wings Off Flies / A Box For Black Paul

    The Birthday Party had been one of the more uncompromising post punk groups to emerge. A deranged bunch of Australians who didn't believe in doing anything half heartedly. They exploded onto the London music scene and though, never sold any quantity of records, eventually became fairly influential. This was Nick Cave's first solo record. He retained only Mick Harvey from The Birthday Party line-up and recorded a bunch of songs most of which appear to be left overs from the final days of The Birthday Party. Tracey Pew was missed. There is no doubt about it. His bass lines often held The Birthday Party together. They propelled that group dangerously and furiously forwards. Here, we have a Leonard Cohen song to open. Very minimalistic musical backing. Nicks vocal is far more sinister than old Len's had been though! But, the whole song is so very very quiet. Certainly something The Birthday Party never were. It doesn't actually work all that well this song, though it does contain a certain amount of menace, given Nicks vocal performance. Second song 'Cabin Fever' sounds a little like The Birthday Party. Disjointed guitar lines and a funky bass that sounds decent though lacks the deep resonance and power of The Birthday Party. Its a fun track. Nothing serious and nothing more. 'Well Of Misery' shows Nicks liking for the blues. The backing vocals are slightly ridiculous and these opening three songs hardly amount to a classic album opening.

    Things do get better. The title song is as good as anything his legendary former band produced. All dynamics, screamed vocals and such an atmosphere! It sounds like the world is about to end and is one of the more enjoyably furious songs here. In a similar vein but if possible, even more angry sounding is the epic 'Saint Huck'. The vocals there are something to behold. Nick was a great screamer at this stage. His vocals did begin to show some variation however, most noticeably on his version of 'In The Ghetto'. Yes, the Elvis song! In his hands it sounds romantic. Desolately romantic, it flows along. A fantastic vocal, actually and a sign of things to come later in his career. 'A Box For Black Paul' is over nine minutes long and makes for an epic album closer. Amazingly desolate and black. A single piano is heard playing lines that sound like the coming of a funeral procession. Great, story telling lyrics amongst the best Nick had produced at this stage. Yeah, it is a little trying, its desolate manner is something you rather have to be in the mood for. It is ambitious however and ties up the album nicely. On the whole the record isn't as impressive as the finest work of The Birthday Party. It lacks that groups relentess furious assault. It does contain some fine things however, even though Nick had yet to find his voice as a solo performer.

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    Richard Vasiliy tijemart@yahoo.com
    Well, well… Yes, this album is kind of punkish-influenced yet. I am a big hater of punk, but FROM HER TO ETERNITY has some awesome moments! The album is very depressive and impressive also, it’s absolutely non-commercial and even rather complicated. My favorite song here is the 1st – AVALANCHE. It’s the most depressive here (I like such kind of music) and maybe the most sincere. Though the album has some songs of another kind: bluesy-pretty THE MOON IS IN THE GUTTER, balladish IN THE GHETTO and (this song oftenly makes me laugh!) sarcastic WINGS OFF FLIES. But anyway this album is good to bother your old neighbours with its pandemonium noises and heavy bass-sounds. I like it…

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    First Born Is Dead 7 ( 1985 )
    Tupelo / Say Goodbye To The Little Girl Tree / Train Long Suffering / Black Crow King / Knockin' On Joe / Wanted Man / Blind Lemon Jefferson / The Six Strings That Drew Blood

    An album that was slated by English critics upon release. They had already begun getting their digs in before the album was even released. A case of build them up and knock them down perhaps? Nick himself had just begun work on his debut novel which emerged a few years later as 'And The Ass Saw The Angel'. The work he was doing on the book influenced the feel of some of the lyrics here, most obviously 'Tupelo' with its Elvis references. Following 'Well Of Misery' from the previous album, Nick delved deeper into the blues. One song is titled 'Blind Lemon Jefferson', for example. 'Black Crow King' was another lyric seemingly inspired by his writings in progress for 'And The Ass Saw The Angel'.

    We open we 'Tupelo'. An edited single version was slated by the critics upon release, seemingly without them even bothering to listen to it. Its now regarded as one of his finest moments. 'The king is born....' A supremely dramatic atmosphere helped along by the rattling drums and organ work. This seven minute long emotional epic was followed by the relatively simple 'Say Goodbye To The Little Girl Tree'. Nick sounds in good voice throughout the track though. A feature especially noticeable on the longest track of the record 'Knockin' On Joe'. It comes across almost as an extended 'Jennifers Veil' by his previous group, 'The Birthday Party'. Bluesy harmonica is present and correct, the lyrics are full of sorrow and 'you are heavy....these locks cannot be broken...' and its so amazingly desolate. The singing is superb. This really suits him. Ponderous piano plays a part and quiet drums suddenly sounding like thunder to provide emphasis throughout the song. A wonderful moment, a fabulous song.

    Bob Dylan's 'Wanted Man' was entirely re-written but still credited to Bob all the same. Bob got all the royalties! It positively thunders along and makes for a very entertaining diversion following the epic 'Knockin' On Joe'. The final two songs let the side down. 'Blind Lemon Jefferson' is very bare musically and rather drags its six minute length around after itself. The closing 'Six Strings That Drew Blood' was a song originally recorded by The Birthday Party. Rejected by them, it hardly sounds great performed here either. Another very bare performance, lyrics that are spat out rather than sung and words that don't add together. An album consiting of eight songs with only two really essential moments, a couple of lacklustre tracks and much filler - perhaps the critics were right to criticise this? Its not actually a bad album though. Its not essential listening overall, but the finest moments from this set, especially 'Tupelo' would prove durable compositions for him.

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    mark tapley aneuroid@hotmail.com
    quite agree with some of your comments, but you make the harsher elements of the record (blind lemon jefferson, the six strings that drew blood...) sound clumsy and incoherent, which isn't quite fair, i think...

    the flying horseman Antwerp
    blind lemon jefferson is one of my all-time favourites, and six strings is great too (featuring blixa in absolute top-form). both of 'them are much better than anything he's/they've put out for the last fifteen years, if you ask me. but then nobody asked of course.

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    Your Funeral My Trial 8 ( 1986 )
    Sad Waters / The Carny / Your Funeral My Trial / Stranger Than Kindness / Jacks Shadow / Hard On For Love / She Fell Away / Long Time Man

    In a sense, Nicks solo career proper begins here. This was originally issued on two 12" records playing at 45rpm and was issued as a double EP set. It followed the surprise commercial and critical success of his 'Kicking Against The Pricks' covers album. That record had been put together almost in a perverse fashion - Nick sensing another mauling at the hands of the critics. When both fans and the critics loved it as well as surprising Nick, it provided him with food for thought. In a sense it enabled him to progress musically and tackle different kinds of song. Your Funeral My Trial was written and recorded either side of the release of 'Kicking Against The Pricks'. I should take a short time to explain the track-listing and running order. The track-listing i've given is the one for the original EP sets and the cassette version of the album. The CD issue to this day gives a different running order as well as adding a bonus song called 'Scum'. The album makes a whole lot more sense in its original form however so that's how i'll be taking it.

    'Sad Waters' oh sweet 'Sad Waters'! This is one of my favourite Nick Cave songs bar none. Immediately it sounds totally different to anything from his first two solo records. A ballad that musically is notable for the great rising bass lines and a Bob Dylan-esque organ sound. The lyrics are pure poetry and actually very romantic sounding. Its a wonderfully brilliant song and some way to open proceedings. 'The Carny' follows this rather sweet song with dark lyrical imagery influenced by Nicks work on his 'And The Ass Saw The Angel' book. Musically it sounds like a nightmarish fairground - perhaps appropriately. The tune is ponderous and dark and the lyric is storytelling. He simply didn't 'do' lyrics quite like this before he started work on his novel. He was so immersed in work for his novel it did flow into his songwriting. It only benefited the depth and range of his writing ultimately and this record certainly benefits. The end of the first half is concluded with the title song and 'Stranger Than Kindness'. 'Stranger Than Kindness' is fairly minimal musically and the vocals are mixed quietly too. Its intriguing rather than anything essential. The rhythm of the percussion is especially intriguing - all shuffling and giving off the image of a man walking across many miles of desert in an american western. 'Your Funeral My Trial' itself is on a par with 'Sad Waters' and remains to this day one of his finest songs. The piano and bass work together well. Its heartbreakingly beautiful and sad and Nicks vocal performance reaches a depth rarely displayed on his earlier works.

    The second half of the album puts together the more up-tempo rockin' material. 'Jacks Shadow' is furious in the manner of the likes of 'Tupelo' and much in the same ball park in terms of quality. 'Hard On For Love' was one of the groups private jokes and very Birthday Party by numbers and rather forgettable and  throwaway. Its the only really below par moment on the album, though. Well, the final two songs 'She Fell Away' and 'Long Time Man', although both having their moments and working to provide a more rounded album experience - are 'just' good Nick Cave songs. 

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    Tender Prey 9 ( 1988 ) more best albums...
    The Mercy Seat / Up Jumped The Devil / Deanna / Watching Alice / Mercy / City Of Refuge / Slowly Goes The Night / Sundays Slave / Sugar Sugar Sugar / New Morning

    None of The Bad Seeds or Nick himself have good memories of the making of this record. Nick had developed something of a drugs dependency and it was starting to affect his professionalism in the studio. This album took many months and four different studios to complete. The end result however, partly because of the tension perhaps, resulted in the most critical acclaim he'd received for any record til this point. Its not too difficult to hear why. 'The Mercy Seat' is a long dense wall of noise punctuated by violin, all sorts of noises and a wonderfully dark lyric. Its some astonishing way to open an album although perhaps the repeated verses to close can become wearying. Second song 'Up Jumped The Devil' has tremendous black humour. Its funny! Well, it is quite funny in a 'i was cut from her belly with a stanley knife, my daddy did a jig with the drunk midwife' kind of a way :) 'Deanna' is the bad seeds perverted version of a pop song. An easy to grasp melody but there is still a slightly demented quality to the vocal. 'Watching Alice' and 'Mercy' complete the first side. It adds up to some first side of a record. 'Watching Alice' is so sad sounding musically but with beautiful piano and an interesting 'peepshow' lyric. 'Mercy' is heartbreaking, especially considering exactly what Nick was going through at the time.

    The second half starts strongly with the guitars and the fury of 'City Of Refuge'. Vocally, Nick sounds strong here and the flow into 'Slowly Goes The Night' - another heartbreaking ballad is all contrasts and takes your breath away. 'Slowly Goes The Night' features one of the best vocals on the record amid a shuffling rhythm and more beautiful piano patterns. 'Sundays Slave' and 'Sugar Sugar Sugar' are the only real slight let downs on the album' Sugar Sugar Sugar' is lightweight although the guitars do have some bite. 'Sundays Slave' is decent enough but lacks the excitement or beauty of any of the opening songs. Fortunately, 'New Morning' is a pure thing of wonder, especially considering the darkness of much of whats gone before. Redemption! It sounds like a hymn to be sung in church but the lyrics show someone very aware of the dark side of life as well as the possibility of renewal. Its a fabulous song any which way you look at it lyrically. The gospel hymn feel is most alluring especially when the backing vocals come in. It ends a well sequenced record that displays signs of genuis in places. The first Nick Cave record that can be whole heartedly recommended to anyone without a fear they won't find at least something to like about it.

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    Jude Bolton Bolton_154@hotmail.com
    Actually I think that The Mercy Seat is a rare example of where endlessly repeated verses/codas work perfectly! An incredibly moving 8 minutes of music to me, and sounds much better in headphones than comin' through the speakers

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    The Good Son 9 ( 1990 )
    Foi Na Cruz / The Good Son / Sorrows Child / The Weeping Song / The Ship Song / The Hammer Song / Lament / The Witness Song / Lucy

    The songs had been demoed in Berlin. Nick fell in love, got clean of drugs and moved to Brazil. The result was something that had no precedents in terms of his previous career. This is a lush, beautiful musical landscape full of love and devotion. Poetic, romantic lyrics. Something like 'The Weeping Song'. Not romantic but still deadly romantic in its execution. Nick Cave changed 180 degree's but still managed to not only retain his fanbase but widen it somewhat. The opener 'Foi Na Cruz' is about religion and is an adaption of a Brazilian hymn. 'The Good Son' follows and a little of the menace of Nick Cave of old returns but mixed in with gospel influences, spirituality and added to the fact that his novel was finished and lyrically this occupies a whole new landscape to his previous few albums. Its a great song. 'Sorrows Child' benefits from a wonderfully evocative lyric and musical melody. This is a film in song! His vocal sounds better than ever before. Scary bad seeds guitarist Blixa Bargeld provides vocals on 'The Weeping Song' mixed in with Nicks vocals on alternate sections. A song with a little shuffling rhythm and damn it if it doesn't place cinematic images in your brain. And! You can sing-along too! How good is that?! The highlight of the whole thing arrives with 'The Ship Song'. His new found love put to good creative use in terms of the lyrical content. A soft, tender but still impassioned vocal. Its a heartbreaking melody led by Piano and subtle bass guitar. Its simply beautiful and no other word will do.

    'The Hammer Song' is well executed and here to provide variety. Its an up-tempo song but not as furious as something like 'Tupelo' but in the context of this record it works well. 'Lament' is another song here with wonderfully evocative lyrics and another sad, heartbreaking, tears in the eyes lyric and vocal. 'The Witness Song' ( note, many of these songs retained their original working titles ) is again, preacher gospel - infused with religion. An up-tempo number but one must wonder what guitar demon Blixa actually did on this song. Its all shuffling bass and drums with Piano and Organ as melodic lead. Still, its up-tempo nature flows very nicely into the closing 'Lucy'. A short lullaby. A beautiful melody and vocal that nicely ties up the album. An album that re-invented what people thought Nick Cave was capable of. Classic structure in terms of song-writing and songs that anyone would be proud to have written. <

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    Marv Hungary
    In my mind, the Good Son always was one of the the weakest Cave albums ever, so it's bit of a surprise you gave it such a high rating. It's quite "soft" compared to its predecessor(s), but at the same time, it seems somewhat uninspired too (whereas e.g. the Boatman's Call was soft too, but amazingly consistent). The Weeping Song is an instant classic of course, easily the best track here (and one of my absolute favourites) and The Ship Song is a nice and simple ballad, although in my opinion, not as strikingly brilliant as some people think it is. I like The Hammer Song as well, it has great atmosphere and flow, one of the finer moments of Good Son. The title track is a standard Cave tune, although it seems a bit forced and cannot be compared to let's say Tupelo or The Mercy Seat. The Witness Song is awful, Lament and Lucy are fairly mundane cuts, Foi Na Cruz sounds nothing like Nick Cave and Sorrow's Child is okay, although the lyrics are quite shallow. Generally, the whole! album lacks the kind of lyrics you'd expect from Nick and the music isn't that much interesting or memorable to begin with. I can't believe you've rated this one higher than Your Funeral, My Trial and Let Love In (both being strong highlights in his career, I think), but oh well. Tastes differ, I guess.

    GAZZA Edinburgh
    My feeling is youve overrated it a little . Its certainly a change of pace and style in his catalogue at this point , but its not as well written as "henrys dream" or as well produced and powerful as "let love in " but works as a bridge to those more realised records . The "ship song" "weeping song" and "Lament" are all excellent songs ,betraying a scott walker influence here and there and i quite like the linking of traditional song to caves writing in the title track. but im not crazy about "the hammer song" it seems out of place and overlong , just like "the witness song" , which seem like appeasements to his audience for his unfamiliar lighter sound . 7.5/10 seems fairer .

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    Henrys Dream ( 1992 )
    Papa Won't Leave You Henry / I Had A Dream, Joe / Straight To You / Brother My Cup Is Empty / Christina The Astonishing / When I First Came To Town / John Finns Wife / Loom Of The Land / Jack The Ripper

    The record company suggested it would be a good idea if The Bad Seeds worked with a producer. They choose David Briggs, famous for his work with Neil Young. He was chosen because Nick thought Neil's albums sounded as if a recording button had been switched on, the band let loose, then the button switched off again. Very live and unproduced sounding. The problem with David Briggs was that he simply wasn't right for Nick. When it came to mixing and Nick had chance to hear the finished product played at less than the studio's deafening volume, he was aghast at what he heard. David Briggs had tried to mix the record as if Nick and the guys were an average American rock band. The mixes lacked dynamics. Nick was unhappy, the group were unhappy and the record company were unhappy. They handed the tapes over to former Birthday Party associate Tony Cohen, who with Nick and Mick set about remixing the record! This, added to the protracted writing sessions for this record means that some kind of effort went into the finished product!

    We open with 'Papa Won't Leave You Henry'. The lyric is full of humour and gives off wonderful images. Strings enter the fray. The guitar sounds bare but also full of aggression. The rhythm section enters and the whole entire thing explodes. The whole song is wonderful. 'I Had A Dream' opens with Nick in preacher mode responding to the calls of his 'disciples'. It explodes into a furious guitar workout that Nick sails over the top of, spitting out the words with venom - and the words? Yeah, they are mighty fine words! Piano parts are buried slightly in the musical mix, adding to the thrill of it all. A top demented fabulous guitar solo courtesy of Blixa in the middle section, too. All of this and possibly the finest 'straight' ballad Nick has ever written. 'Straight To You' surpasses even the efforts on 'The Good Son' in terms of affecting emotional songwriting. The lyric may be simple - damn, the tune is simple! Its a simple song but simply so very well executed. So? Well, 'Henry's Dream' gets itself off to a fine start, I guess.

    'Brother My Cup Is Empty' sounds longer than its three minute running time would suggest, 'Christina The Astonishing' is spooky lyrically although rather drawn out, eventually. 'When I First Came To Town' is lighter in tone and opens with sweet guitar, a song containing fine vocals from Nick. The album is picking up again, and 'John Finns Wife', as furious as anything Nick and The Bad Seeds have ever produced, rams this point home. It starts quietly but the vocal has some nasty terror in store. The whole thing suddenly explodes and switches back and rises in intensity and the story continues. It would work as a short story, let alone a song. Its truly a thing to behold, what with the shouted vocals, the stabbing guitars and strings, etc, etc. 'Loom Of The Land' works as partner to 'Straight For You' and a nice little ditty called 'Jack The Ripper' to close. Aggressive guitars, backing vocals, and Nick at his most demonic.

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    mcbro UK
    Surprised that Henry's Dream gets no comments from anyone - so here's my take: 8.5 is a lttle mean in my humble opinion - as compared to Boatman and Tender Prey I reckon it's a good 9 if not 9.5 - the Bad Seeds doing what they do best - snarling and crashing about. A glorious and breathless time had by all.

    GAZZA Edinburgh
    Raw, acoustic gothic noir folk , of the finest variety . It boasts some of nicks finest lyrics and some visceral performances to back it up . When the pace slows with "christina" "straight to you" and "loom of the land" he finds melody and atmosphere in all the right places . And nicks vocals are spot on here , showing real tone and development . Only "when i first came to town" doesnt quite convince but "john finns wife" is a masterpiece of menace and storytelling, the kind of cave writing which would reach its fruition in "murder ballads" 8/10 .

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    Live Seeds 8 ( 1993 )
    The Mercy Seat / Deanna / The Ship Song / Papa Won't Leave You Henry / Plain Gold Ring / John Finns Wife / Tupelo / Brother My Cup Is Empty / The Weeping Song / Jack The Ripper / The Good Son / From Her To Eternity / New Morning

    Displays the Bad Seeds live and in all their glory recorded during the 'henrys dream' tour. The 'Henrys Dream' songs sound louder and more furious than their recorded counterparts. This works for the loud and furious songs but sometimes the quieter songs aren't taken as well as they might have been. Still, they are great songs, the setlist is great. 'The Mercy Seat' sounds wonderful! After a stupendous 'Papa Won't Leave You Henry' we have the highlight of the whole damn thing. 'Plain Gold Ring'. An obscure cover version that for the most part appears a dirge. The lyrics are good though and Nick sounds on the edge throughout the opening quiet verses. The bass suddenly takes on a Birthday Party type of hue and the song progresses. The bass continues the guitar sounds wonderful and Nick sounds wonderful. So good so far. Exactly three minutes twenty in the whole thing explodes and matches ANYTHING the legendary Birthday Party EVER produced. That, you know, ten years on, they could do this. They could do this! It goes quiet again and you can hear the cheering of the crowd and the smiles and exhilaration. You can HEAR the exhilaration! 'John Finns Wife' and 'Jack The Ripper' are both highlights amongst a fairly straight, standard Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds concert. Pretty good then overall? Well, 'New Morning' closes and I love that song. This isn't an essential recording to own, but it does have some damn fine moments mixed in and proves The Bad Seeds are damn fine live performers!

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    otis otiscass@shaw.ca
    I think this to be his best album bar none!...it is intense and works as a great album as a whole...it flows without a real bummer in the bunch...the only ..ONLY, slight critism i can think of is "christina the astonishing" can drag a bit and sometimes i skip it...but it is worthy of inclusion as it fits well into the fray and is a mighty spooky sounding song...."papa won't leave you henry", "i had a dream joe", "brother my cup is empty", "straight to you" (which i still play on guitar and sing alot), "john finn's wife" and "jack the ripper" are just simply amazing songs...the whole album has a feel but also has the great songs to back it up...it almost sounds like he was waiting his whole life to make this album...an utter masterpiece i.m.o. and definitely worth a "10".

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    Let Love In 7 ( 1994 )
    Do You Love Me? / Nobody's Baby Now / Loverman / Jangling Jack / Red Right Hand / I Let Love In / Thirsty Dog / Aint Gonna Rain Anymore / Lay Me Low / Do You Love Me? (Part 2)

    I remember feeling let down by this. I bought it on the day of release and was delighted to find out a week later it had charted just outside the UK top ten! Nick was now being treated as a priority artist. My girlfriend at the time was a huge Nick Cave fan and loved this record. I never could understand quite why. For me, personally, it is inferior to his previous few records and certainly inferior to both 'The Good Son' and 'Henrys Dream' from a songwriting point of view. The songs seem rather drawn out to me. Still! We do have some mighty fine moments that are enough to ensure a decent album if judged in its own right. Opener 'Do You Love Me' for starters. Fabulous vocals and rhythms. 'Nobodys Baby Now' is kind of sweet but the sort of ballad he'd done much better before on 'Henrys Dream' or 'The Good Son'. 'Lover Man' and 'Red Right Hand' are highlights for me. 'Loverman' is one of his more intense moments and forces you to listen. I heard him perform this at Glastonbury and everybody paid attention! It was quite funny! It was respect though, respect for a serious artist. And, well. The shouted screamed chorus parts where the guitars go wild are pretty damn thrilling anyway. 'Red Right Hand' pops up all over the place these days. It follows the rather throwaway 'Jangling Jack' which although superficially sounding decent isn't really anything more than a brief thrash. 'Red Right Hand' has such a fabulous groove! The bass is wonderful, full credit to Martyn P . Casey for this one.

    As for the second side? Well, the title song is rather strained and 'Aint Gonna Rain Anymore' rather too doomy without much in the way of salvation musically or even vocally. 'Thirsty Dog' is fun! Its silly but very demented and Blixa gets to show what he can do to that guitar of his. Which, is ALWAYS a wonderful thing to hear. 'Lay Me Low' has its moments but seems a little long and drawn out. The reprise of 'Do You Love Me' with partly new lyrics and a slow tempo doesn't work at all. The record should have ended with 'Lay Me Low'. Yeah, there are flaws to this work, although it does have fine Cave moments and is by no means BAD, of course. Just not upto the high standards we'd been used to.

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    Max K silvaduro@hotmail.com
    Sorry, but the review of Let Love In didn't seem fair. Or, at least, you implied that Do You Love Me (Part 2) was simply half of the original and half new, slowed down. It's much more than that, basically fully new lyrics with a similar chorus and some parallels, and is rather chilling when you listen to the lyrics. It's about a twisted paedophile, the coins jungling for a reason that is a little disturbing. It's just a very good song. My opinions, of course. Thanks for all these reviews, they give a lot of insight into the music. Although I'm not going to go into how much I liked No More Shall We Part.

    Leon leonvander@hotmail.com
    i also felt let down by this upon its release but at the same time he appeared to be getting some well earned recognition - i was a lot happier when Murder Ballads came along in '96

    GAZZA Edinburgh
    I regard the run of albums from "henrys dream " to "boatmans call" as nicks finest and most consistent work. But "let love in" is his most attractive and powerful sounding record . Side 1 is classic from start to finish , "do you love me" and "red right hand" are funky and sinister , "loverman" builds to an intense roar , and "nobodys baby now" is one of nicks prettiest,saddest ballads . The 2nd half of the record cant match the 1st and i feel the laborious "lay me low" is a real stinker but on the other hand "aint gonna rain anymore " is another real favourite of mine. Overall "let love in" is one of nicks best records mixing rock,biblical dread, folk tradition and humour in a way that only dylan himself could match ..

    Dale Toronto
    One of the most interesting things about Nick Cave is how we can all love his work so passionately - and yet disagree so strongly about the highs and lows. Let Love In is my favourite album. Not just my favourite Nick Cave album but my favourite album by anybody, ever. Nocturama is almost unlistenable. I remember someone saying it was like Nick parodying himself. And yes, that rang true for me. A bad parody to boot! In fact, my rankings would be almost the inverse of yours. And yet, we both love Nick Cave. If there's anything that truly proves his mastery, it is in the way he touches us all - yet never all at the same time.

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    Murder Ballads 7 ( 1996 )
    Song Of Joy / Stagger Lee / Henry Lee / Lovely Creature / Where The Wild Roses Grow / The Curse Of Millhaven / The Kindness Of Strangers / Crow Jane / O'Malleys Bar / Death Is Not The End

    This is Nicks obsession with the murder ballad form and all that's dark taken to its logical extreme. It was also a hit album all over the world ( well, practically everywhere apart from the USA at least ) and can boast a hit single too! Out comes fellow Australian Kylie Minogue to duet with Nick on 'Where The Wild Roses Grow'. PJ Harvey duets on 'Henry Lee'. Both songs are decent enough but I can't take them seriously exactly. I don't really think this is an album to TAKE seriously! Some of the lyrics are dead funny but the two closing songs - one a bob dylan tune absolutely massacred and the other 14 mintues long are hardly works of great art. In-between these songs however we do have some fine moments. Opener 'Song Of Joy' is fantastically sinister and haunting, one of the best. Crystal clear production on his voice helps, it sounds like he's right next to you which certainly adds to the sinister tone of fear! 'Stagger Lee' is groovy as hell and the best thing on the whole album. It's just....words fail me. Fantastic bass groove, wonderful vocal performance and a great murderous angry lyric.

    'Lovely Creature' and 'The Curse Of Millhaven' both have funny lyrics. 'Curse Of Millhaven' is great actually. A funny almost comedy musical track suitable to match the lyric I suppose. Its a fun, entertaining song complete with little circus style organ sounds. 'Crow Jane' and 'Kindness Of Strangers' are the most typical Cave songs here. Neither are essential but do help the album overall be taken rather more seriously than it might otherwise. All that remains after these are the dreadful 'Death Is Not The End' and 'O Malleys Bar'. 'O Malleys Bar' is actually ok if you are in the mood for it and half a spare hour or so! Well, ok. Its fourteen minutes long but it feels longer. The same small musical parts repeat throughout the track to base the storytelling lyric upon. It does get trying. But, ah well. A slightly strange album this, but it does contain enough high points overall to make it worthy of your investigation.

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    Padraig Padraicmoran@hotmail.com
    Disagree again with this rating, very innovative if somewhat disturbing lyrics. But some beautifual songs..Wild Roses..Lovely Creature..For something different, O Malleys Bar is great entertainment as for Stagger Lee..Somewhat lacking in musical talent com,pared with other albums..Good Son and No More Shall we Part but deserves more than 7.5 rating

    Joe Moss jm@expertica.gi
    Disagree here. For me this is Nick Cave's finest hour. I agree the deadpan side is so exaggerated as to make it a hoot but you cannot ignore the beauty of the compositions, the quality of the delivery, the faithfulness to the concept and the way in which some old songs are updated pereftly. Definite 10.

    mcbro UK
    Can't help but to disagree with the rating on this. Otherwise, these are excellent reviews of NC&TBS albums. Murder Ballads is a great collection of evocative, moody and scary music coupled with the odd filler I accept, but worthy of a good 8.5 if not a 9. The one I play most.

    Gazza Edinburgh
    I think the rating should be higher as this album marked an elevation in nicks work . He brought something much more cinematic to the tradition of murder ballads particularly in "song of joy" where the narrator is clearly the killer rather than the victim or in the lengthy barroom massacre of "omalleys bar" which could almost be a tarantino film . God knows what the minogue fans thought of "stagger lee" with nick swearing like a gangsta rappa over a funky track . The ballads garnered the most attention and they fit perfectly . Theirs nothing wrong with "crow jane" or the perfect choice of closing with "death is not the end" so im unsure about why they get slated so much . I really like "lovely creature" as well its so haunting but almost a pop song . The only fault the album has is the chorus of "millhaven" which is too similar to "henry lee" but thats a minor gripe . This is one of nicks best works full of humour,subtlety and vim - 8.5/10 .

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    The Boatmans Call 10 ( 1997 )
    Into My Arms / Lime Tree Arbour / People Aint No Good / Brompton Oratory / There Is A Kingdom / Are You The One I've Been Waiting For? / Where Do We Go Now But Nowhere / West Country Girl / Black Hair / Idiot Prayer / Far From Me / Green Eyes

    Described by some as Nicks 'Slow Train Coming' by others as 'The Good Son' without the string section. Neither description is entirely correct of course. Yes, this is an album on which Nick waxes lyrical about religion and god but also twinkling cunts. You know, this is still Nick Cave here! The Bad Seeds are credited on the sleeve but many of the tracks feature Nicks own piano playing as lead instrument. The opening 'Into My Arms' is pretty much exclusively Nick apart from some very subtle bass mixed in there somewhere. Its a beautiful song though whichever way you look at it. It really is beautiful and a song that's unlikely to scare anybody such was the change of pace from the previous few albums. 'Lime Tree Arbour' is simply a thing to behold! The piano, the bass a hammond organ. Wonderful lyrics and Nick on top notch vocal form sounding more wonderful than ever. Following 'Into My Arms' with this ensures a strong album opening full of classical songwriting structure, intelligent poetic lyrics and good vocals. 'People Aint No Good' follows. Now, when this album first came out I was ridiculously excited by the prospect of a new Nick Cave record. I spent some time in Virgin Megastore before release glued to the Jukebox. Suffering from depression and listening to 'People Aint No Good' for the very first time and bursting into tears in the middle of the store was just something I went through :) The fury may have been replaced by piano and subtle bass work but the lyrics are pure nick cave and achingly lovely in their pessimism! I agree sometimes, you know? 'People Aint No Good' - a story told so very poetically that it just gets to you.

    'Brompton Oratory' continues the strong start to the album. Four songs in, no weak points whatsoever. Again, the music and vocals are wonderfully beautiful and sad sounding but still create tears of impossible joy. There is no other music quite like the music contained on this album. It creates such a special atmosphere throughout. 'There Is A Kingdom' is musically rich and lyrically devotional. 'Are You The One That I've Been Waiting For' continues with the brush stroked drums and the atmospheric quiet guitar and wonderful bass playing. Its memorable, one of the best melodies musically on the whole record. Another high point! 'West Country Girl' and 'Black Hair' are Nicks 'PJ Harvey' songs with lyrics able to be transferred to their brief relationship quite easily. We don't know for sure if the songs were about Polly but they certainly match up well if indeed they are. 'Black Hair' especially is a thing of sad lovely splendour. 'Idiot Prayer' and 'Far From Me' are both classic Nick Cave and still we have 'Green Eyes' to close, reputedly about Tori Amos and also the song from which the 'twinkling ct' lyric at the start of this review was quoted! Why is it still beautiful? Nick sings ever so fantastically well over the top of himself speaking out the words, almost teaching himself the words as he soars vocally throughout the song acompainied by lovely guitar work. A classic album. There really is no doubt. Nothing is at all weak or wrong here, the atmosphere is created from the off and maintained til the end. Really there are few records out there as great as this.

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    Rita Gleason edugomu@yahoo.com
    What happened with "where do we go now but nowhere"? You did not say a word about this song which in my view happens to be one of the deepest songs contained in the album: the violin is sad and touching, nick´s voice is perfect, the acoustic guitar is very subtle and still gives the song a special background and the lyric is just great. Say something.

    johnny boy johnnyboy45@ntlworld.com
    I only just started listening to Nick Cave. This is the most perfect album I've ever heard.Not one duff track on it. This is a poet's voice,a beautiful album. Can't really add anymore to whats been said.

    gazza garyhess.44@hotmail.com
    Like leonard cohen nick seems to revel in both his faith and doubt of both love and god often in the same song .The 1st half of the album features nicks finest devotional songs , beautiful and trusting but with a certain resignation . The performances are sparse and live sounding , primarily piano led . Midway caves thoughts turn to a recent love affair , who it is specifically matters not a jot but several songs in caves repeated imagery of his lover is accentuated across the songs so much we feel her presence . Its not an idealised love , but a real one and cave seems powerless but to follow it to a conclusion he seems aware of from the start . "far from me" and "idiot prayer" sum up his futile anger and his sadness in a really precise way - caves writing here leaves little room for interpretation. "are you the one "? actually aches with longing so much you feel his trepidation , describing a potential loves slow arrival so vividly and lovingly you mirror it to sit! uations in your own life . Just beautiful writing . the closing "green eyes" is something that could fit at the end of a peckinpah western tracking a lovers goodbye across the endless deserts . A gorgeous record, not a lot of joy but plenty of solace 10/10.

    Chris the_libertine@hotmail.co.uk
    It took me a long time to realise that this is indeed his masterpiece. I thought Abattoir Blues was it but didn't seem to cut it despite it's brilliance. Tender Prey is strong but not perfect. This album is, the only album that can really compare is Blood On The Tracks. It transcends everything he has done and shows him at his most subtle and poetic. A modern masterpiece.

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    No More Shall We Part ( 2001 )
    As I Sat Sadly By Her Side / And No More Shall We Part / Hallelujah / Love Letter / Fifteen Feet Of Pure White Snow / God Is In The House / Oh My Lord / Sweetheart Come / The Sorrowful Wife / We Came Along This Road / Gates To The Garden / Darker With The Day

    The first thing that raises eyebrows is Nick Caves voice. What the hell has happened to it?????? Well, it works ok. Its not sunken into the sand or gone off into the ether. Most of the songs it sounds as fine as ever, just, on the lead song and lead single it sounds, well, 'weedy'. I'm not sure why. The actual song is fine although far from the best thing here. Still writing good songs! The title song is just splendid! Good use of his voice, beautiful musical backing, a sad and haunting atmosphere. The song that follows is nearly eight minutes long. The album as a whole is 77 minutes long spread out over only twelve tracks. This isn't the best thing since sliced bread and its far from Nicks best work. 'Hallelujah' has so many good moments, sounds wonderfully beautiful and haunting in places but does it go on? Yes, it does. 'Love Letter' is a thing of wonder and 'Fifteen Feet Of Pure White Snow' the first up-tempo number of the album. When the piano comes in after the first vocal introduction I just grin and smile! The ballad Nick Cave piano used on an up-tempo track that ends pretty damn fantastically. 'God Is In The House', 'Oh My Lord' and 'Sweetheart Come' create a lull in the centre of the record. The first half wasn't too bad.

    'The Sorrowful Wife' is stunning, furious, a thing of joy and exhilaration. This is an inconsistent record from both a performance and song-writing point of view. The slower songs simply aren't on the most part as good as the songs from 'The Boatmans Call' though the faster songs are welcome. 'The Sorrowful Wife' is both desolately sad Nick Cave and furious Nick Cave to close. We can hear Blixa! Blixa we love you! The two ballads that follow this are actually pretty accomplished and nice. The closing 'Darker With The Day' is a beautiful song enhanced by the backing vocal harmonies. Overall this isn't a bad record. Its not a great record either - we could have lost a couple of songs anndd not missed them. The album would have been a better, more concise experience. As it is, the high points are as high as we would expect from Nick, and that's certainly enough.

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    Jill jillvh2002@yahoo.com
    No way is this only a 7! This album is epic and beautiful and has more variation than the boatmans call(which is also brilliant)I love all his stuff but there isn't a bad track here and to rate it below Nocturama which I must admit was a bit of a disappointment and am still trying to get into, is amazing. I would personally give it a 10 for sheer wierd and wonderful which is how I like him

    Colette coletteonice@msn.com
    apparently on " no more shall we part" the producer suggested nic sit at the piano to vocalise as he played which is prob. why one hears a more "reedy" cave vocal than norm.It also sounds softer & alittle more personalised, intimate even, to the listener.( bound to be a bonus to his female fans)

    Padraig Padraicmoran@hotmail.com
    Totally disagree with this rating. Its a splendid album with some of his finest lyrics. I would say some of his very finest work so far.

    Danny Danny@leftoffthedial.com
    There are things about this album that are incredible but for me it often ends up as a sort of window dressing. Songs like "Hallelujah" and "15 feet of pure white snow" could be epic, but they're lyrically incomplete. If these stories were completed more like on Murder Ballads we'd have a different story. The piano on "I sat sadly..." is phenomenal as is "sorrowful wife", but my favorite must go to "We came along this road". Overall though, the gushing reviews of this album left me dissapointed when I finally heard it. I'd say Adrian's rating is fine; if not generous.

    Peter stigivy@telia.com
    I agree with the review, but i think that "God is in the house" is one of the best on the album. The problem with this album is the production. Thin and flat with a wooden feel to it. I can´t understand why Nick Cave is complaining so much about Henry´s dream and then give his blessing to this.

    mustafa mecitim@yahoo.com
    this album has its own kind of intimacy and musical quality. it deserves more than 7,5. for being a non-native speaker, it seems to me that album has sui generis compact quality beyond its components. good for nick cave beginners.

    Darije darije@btinternet.com
    This album is obviously a love/hate affair amongst fans. Personally, I think this album is amongst his best work. Sure, it can be slow, but not everything in life has to be fast. And if you're in the right mood, it takes on a magical quality. Also, I prefer his "new" voice; it sounds less forced and more natural, meaning that he can inject a hell of a lot more emotion into his singing, which is exactly what is needed. As for the "lull" in the middle of the album - WHAT?! "God Is In The House" is a great song, all the different parts coming together well, and the lyrics so wonderfully ironic. And "Oh My Lord" has to be one of the best songs Nick and the Bad Seeds have done in terms of build up - starting softly, building up to a massive cresendo, then dropping again a few times, then the biggest crescendo of all to finish off. I would give this album a solid 9, the slight over-lengthiness of some songs its only let down, and that's not a problem if you really get into it.

    David Owens davidowens78@yahoo.com
    I can't believe the rating you gave this, it is far too low. This album, along with The Boatman's Call, is an accomplished, polished beauty and a sumptuous listen, especially at night. I would have given it just below 10, maybe 8 and a half or 9.

    Ross rupchurch@agric.wa.gov.au
    This one is up there with The Boatmans call. Definately better than a 7 for me. One of my favourates and get's better as the years go past

    Gazza garyhess44@hotmail.com
    It could have done with losing a few tracks but generally this has grown in appeal over the years as opposed to nocturama in which the 1st 6 songs were awesome but then cave forgot to finish it. It would have made a great mini album. "Love letter" here is one of the most beautiful, heartfelt expressions of raw emotion ever put to disc . Its caves greatest song and could reduce a grown man to tears....

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    Nocturama 8 ( 2003 )
    Wonderful Life / He Wants You / Right Out Of Your Hand / Bring It On / Dead Man In My Bed / Still In Love / There Is A Town / Rock Of Gibraltar / She Passed By My Window / Babe, I'm On Fire

    A new Nick Cave album is always welcome, but I must admit, I wasn't expecting another so soon. 'Nocturama' was recorded quickly whilst Nick and The Bad Seeds were touring Australia. They recorded the album with an old Birthday Party producer and did the entire thing in little over a week. This is a new Nick Cave, a Nick Cave relatively recently married and happier than he's ever been as far as his close personal relationships are concerned. Following the protracted arrival of 'No More Shall We Part' - and the sense Nick had taken that style of writing as far as he could ( personally, I feel that point began and ended with 'The Boatmans Call' ) - 'Nocturama' sees Nick try to write HIMSELF out of his own songs. Gone are the religious references, the pleas of devotion and the personal self doubts...... Well, one or two songs are straightforward songs you can relate back to Nick, but mostly, these songs lyrically don't relate to Nick Cave anywhere as closely as the songs immediately before had. Not only that, but he's not telling stories, either. Gone is the rich, gothic and poetic story-telling of 'Tender Prey' or 'Henrys Dream'. In fact, speaking as a Nick Cave fan of some eleven years, 'Nocturama' has proved somewhat problematic for me, at least initially. In the first two days of listening to the album, my 'predicted' rating was as low as a 6˝. 'Nocturama' confused the hell out of me when I first heard it. I didn't get the lyrics, didn't get anything here bar one or two songs.... further listens revealed more songs of quality, but the sense that this was a weak Nick Cave work prevailed.

    What's changed? Well, the realisation that this really is a DIFFERENT Nick Cave, but not necessarily an inferior one. This realisation has crept up on me. The opening track for example is just so very beautifully recorded. They went for a natural feel following the strict and sometimes stifling structures of 'No More Shall We Part' and all through 'Wonderful Life', it really does pay off. The bass parts are so wonderful sounding, so NATURAL and flowing..... this isn't the fury of Nick Cave of the Eighties or early Nineties. This isn't the poetic 'proper' song-writing of recent Nick. This is something else and a something else that takes time to adjust to. But, this is very much - certainly - a very good new Nick. 'He Wants You' combines these simpler Nick Cave lyrics with a simple love song. It happens to be one of the most beautiful ballads he's ever written, though. The lyrics are 'simple', although poetic in their construction. They work, absolutely. The sound of Nicks voice is a welcome delight at this stage in the album. I'd worried his voice was 'going' by the sounds of some of 'No More Shall We Part' - see 'As I Sat Sadly By Her Side' for evidence. But, but, BUT! Right here on 'He Wants You' Nick sings as well and sounds as beautiful as he has, certainly at any time since 'The Good Son' at least. 'Right Out Of Your Hand' follows up a ballad with a ballad, but Pedal Steel from Blixa enhances this song. Nice subtle harmonies and backing vocals enhance it, it's another beautiful song.

    Nick hasn't enjoyed a string of charting singles. He's had maybe two, three. And two of those were the duets released as singles from 'Murder Ballads'. So? Well, 'Bring It On' sounds like a hit to me. A fabulous song, easy to get into, well played - special mention for the violin of Warren Ellis at this juncture. No, this still isn't 'normal' or 'straightforward' Rock music - the sound is far too flowing and natural for that. It is tight, though. Very very catchy - especially the chorus. Hopefully it'll be a massive huge hit single! Well, we can pray and dream, lord knows the single charts need a bit of quality in them right about now. 'Dead Man In My Bed' will entertain those that like their Nick Cave with fiery guitars. 'Dead Man In My Bed' has 'loose' but funny lyrics, good lyrics. A very fast tempo, strong drums in particular as the guitars distort and combine well with the sound of a hammond organ. Hey, it works! It sounds really good! Two 'nice' ballads open side two, good songs but nothing better than Nicks done before. You don't need 'Nocturama' for these songs. 'Rock Of Gibralter' contains the single worst rhyme in song that Nick has ever written, rhyming 'Gibralter' with 'Malta', but this remains a lilting charming song. Nothing serious, no dark goth King killing cops..... ah! 'She Passed By My Window' is another 'nice' ballad - good violin again, by the way.

    The closing 'Babe, I'm On Fire' is fifteen minutes long and depending on your mood is enjoyable either for three or those minutes or for the entire fifteen. You see, 'Babe, I'm On Fire' has fabulously 'off the top of his head' lyrics, very very funny lyrics. It has some absolutely great organ parts mixing in with the slashing and biting guitars. It has STUPENDOUS Nick Cave vocals throughout. The song ROCKS, no other word will do. This will go down an absolute storm when played live, and probably will be lengthened by a further ten minutes or so. Now that's what I call an encore! But still, occasionally, 'Babe, I'm On Fire' will tire you after three or four minutes because the song is VERY repetitive. Then again, a lot of rock music is. Nick is rocking again, good and true. 'He Wants You' is one of the finest ballads he's written. 'Wonderful Life' and 'Bring It On' are both up there with the best things he's ever done. As the first of three albums promised by 2005, I reckon 'Nocturama' is a pretty damn fine 'start'. A new Nick Cave? Yeah, but the old Nick is still with us, you know? Ageing gracefully? Not quite, but not quite ageing disgracefully either. A welcome return.

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    Joni meeksbuffalo@earthlink.net
    I respect your opinion and agree. There is one thing I must say as a visual artist. No other musician has EVER touched my struggle with art and humanity as Nick Cave has. In every artist there comes transition and in transitions comes the greatest work one has ever created. Without change (in ones work), one would never be able to reach that which he or she is truley trying to find. So let him go, he has found himself before and he will continue to find himself in new light. Brighter and bigger then we may ever understand. Thanks for letting me write. Joni PS i can't spell or write

    William studiotoronto@sympatico.ca
    I think your review is overly generous. Nocturama is easily the worst album The Bad Seeds have ever released. Bland, forced, and utterly ordinary, even the best songs are simply "ok." I agree with you totally that The Boatman's call is an utter classic, but since then Cave has struggled to find anything interesting to say. Thje music is largely pedestrian, and his attempts to revisit his earlier agressiveness (Dead Man and Babe I'm On Fire) sound hopelessly lacklustre and middle-aged. Hopefully his upcoming double set (with Gallon Drunk's brilliant James Johnson in tow) will be some kind of a comeback

    gazza gary.hess44@hotmail.com
    bottom line is as much as i respect and admire caves work the best tracks from NMSWP and nocturama would have made a great great album . As they stand both are flawed albums the 1st from being overlong and repititive the latter fading out 3 tracks from the end (the last track being ridiculously overlong) Cave still rules though and new listeners should try the new double set - his best and most accessible work

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    Abattoir Blues/The Lyre Of Orpheus 9 ( 2004 )
    Get Ready For Love / Cannibal's Hymn / Hiding All Away / Messiah Ward / There She Goes, My Beautiful World / Nature Boy / Abattoir Blues / Let The Bells Ring / Fable Of The Brown Ape
    The Lyre Of Orpheus / Breathless / Babe, You Turn Me On / Easy Money / Supernaturally / Spell / Carry Me / O Children

    I may seem unusual at times. My decision to give 'Nocturama' a higher grade than the universally acclaimed 'No More Shall We Part', for instance. However, I should qualify that by saying that during my 'Nocturama' review, I did mention Nicks new working methods, writing methods, etc. A new beginning, I called it. With the arrival of this generous double set, that new beginning has already reached a higher level. I hesitate to say its reached fruition, because that means he already needs to change again. It will be interesting to see what he does next, at any event.
    A major change in the lineup of the bad seeds has occured. Blixa Bargeld has left the band, to be replaced by ex Gallon Drunk frontman James Johnston. James plays demonic organ, rather than demonic guitar, leaving Mick Harvey to deal admirably with the guitar duties, here. The organic sound that 'Nocturama' displayed is present on both 'Abattoir Blues' and 'The Lyre Of Orpheus', yet married to superior songwriting, the best Nick Cave songs in a good, long while. Especially in the rockier field, I might add. Both sets of this album are enjoyable, equally so. 'Abattoir Blues' is the harder hitting of the two sets, 'Orpheus' contains the softer, more singer/songwriterly compositions. Both, and hence the whole, are amongst the mans best ever work. I'll discuss both seperately, and then sum up the whole.

    'Abattoir Blues' contains Nicks best darker songs for a decade. He's in fine, snarling and biting aggressive form. The opening two songs do their trick, especially the noisy and fabulous 'Get Ready For Love'. We've an extra special treat in store next, though. 'Hiding All Away' is as fine a rocking and screaming missive from the depths as Nick Cave has ever done. The Bad Seeds, complete with fabulous female gospel choir backing vocals, create a truly demonic noise in the best Nick Cave style. Phew! 'Messiah Ward' is softer, yet still funky as hell with great Cave lyrics. Another highlight arrives with 'There She Goes My Beautiful World', the sound of the post 'Nocturama' Cave in the full-effect. A proper song, this. The gospel harmonies, energetic and arriving to close the chorus, are wonderful. When 'Nature Boy' follows on from this, the sheer freshness this record displays becomes extremely clear. The added pop melodies Nick has integrated into his sound, whilst also regaining all his venom and bite across 'Abattoir Blues' as a whole, is amazing, really. Well, for a thirteenth studio album, it's pretty impressive to still sound fresh and new, as far as i'm concerned. The title track, 'Abattoir Blues' itself fascinates me, lyrics that you want to hear and to follow. 'Let The Bells Ring' again integrates true, proper melodies into the work of Nick Cave, the closing 'Fables Of The Brown Ape' is ponderous, moving into splendid agressive Cave, married to rising and full furious gosepel choir. 'Abattoir Blues is an album with 9 very solid Cave compositions, just one half of this new Nick Cave double set, yet it works on its own, as well.

    The title song of 'The Lyre Of Orpheus' actually hits as hard as almost anything from 'Abattoir Blues', a mere continuation from that set. Some very special things are contained after this opening, too. 'Breathless' is just delicious, not quite sounding like anything Cave has ever done before. He sounds, um, happy. He sounds happy and this is a happy song with really sweet melodies, yet a sound and atmosphere that's so very natural and charming. It's a song that is so good to listen to over and over again, I love it to bits. 'Babe You Turn Me On' arrives next and truly is as lovely and beautiful and tear-inducing as the best of my own personal Cave fave rave, 'The Boatmans Call'. The piano and soft female backing vocals are wonderful touches. The Cave vocal is deep and intoning, then sweet. A song that's just such emotional listening. The kind of song that makes a crowded room go suddenly quiet, heads and ears straining to pick up every nuance. Oh god, 'Easy Money' is just as good! Well, what DO we have here??? Another quality Cave vocal, another perfectly realised, delicate and meaningful musical backing. 'Supernaturally' is faster and features delicious melody as well as some shouting! Perfect piano, rolling and pounding away.

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    Eoin gleesone@tcd.ie
    I just can't see what elevates this to that rating.It's great to see him diversifying, but I was hugely disappointed. It's hard not to come to the conclusion that he'll never make another album like the ones he did in the run from Your Funeral...to Boatman's Call. The music just doesn't seem as potent anymore. I don't mean that in the sense that he has adopted a soft approach (I'm very fond of the lighter side of his music as well) but that nothing in the last three albums has caught me like, say, Your Funeral, My Trial or Watching Alice or Lime Tree Arbour. All but 3 of the songs on this new album seem off target, over elaborate and irritating (and I've played it a lot; trying hard to convince myself it's good).It makes it all the more incredible to me that my other favourite head-the-ball, Tom Waits, is still making wonderful and beguiling music. At least we won't have to wait that long more for the B-sides album, so we can banish this one from memory.

    Jordan hewhocutsdown@gmail.com
    Abattoir Blues & The Lyre Of Orpheus would rate a solid 10 for me. Everything is here; rock, blues, goth, gospel, ballads, jazz. The lyrics, while skipping about from song to song, are fabulous. The choir is occasionally overdone, but it's presence at the end of 'Hiding All Away' or 'O Children' is worth it alone. It's by far my most appreciated musical purchase of the last year. I'll probably buy it again to replace the copy i had to leave in Australia

    jarret jarret@radiowave.com.na
    I would say that nick had something to say, from B-day party, to murder ballads and then again on Abbatoir blues etc, the others dont do it for me at all!! To me, if you love nick cave, boatmans call, (best of the three dissapointments), No more and Nocturama, are WAAAY below what nick IS and can do, maybe he was filling up quota's/Contracts to make someone happy, who knows, dont dig the latter cave, as i said, abbotoir etc, its better though than what he has done since Ballads, i cant believe im the only one to write this down. (Cave has filled alot of SHIT up on those three releases)

    Greg Lord greglorduk@aol.com/i>
    Adrian I think you are a man after my own heart! I've only just got into Nick Cave (probably 'cos I'm originally from New Zealand & have a natural prejudice against anything Australian - also I was put off by the overly gloomy Murder Ballads). I've just bought Abattoir Blues/Lyre of Orpheus & it is truly fantastic: fresh, energetic, original, beautiful & much more besides. I'm looking forward to playing it over & over & discovering it's depths. My other Cave fave, as is yours, is Boatman's Call - "Into My Arms" is 1 of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard - again just recently discovered. Great website!

    Peter petrzephrmaxs@yahoo.com.au
    Cant believe there is no discussion of what the guy is on about here...(just a whole lot of personal subjective descriptions as far as I can tell from your site) as in why is THIS Orpheus...this contemporary archetype so fucked up?...if you are familar with the esoteric aspects of the original myth as Cave obviously is you'd get the profundity of his take on it both musically philosophically and poetically.. and also see why he has to follow this infinitly bathetic musing by breathless so that (our very tenuous relation to) 'nature' is in some part redeemed - when this brilliance of this stuff dawns on you you realise why there is as far as I can tell only Cave and Cohen who seem to be able to show the initiated whats actually going on...its raises the shamanic potential of art to where it should -and always has been but couldn't be revealed to the masses...be- vis the Lyre of Orpheus...What is this Lyre?

    Great review adrian , not much more to add , except a little surprise that some people think this represents a blanding out of his sound . For me "abbatoir blues" hits home pretty hard with a ferocious drum sound driving along the ensemble and gospel choruses the whole thing verging on led zep in places , lyrical imagery swings from comedy to apocalyptic at the drop of a hat . Its a rocking good listen . (anyone else think nature boy sounds like steve harleys "come up and see me" ??) The lyre of orpheous is a sequence of quite beautiful cave songs that really benefit from a seperate disc . The only variation from its sedate meditative mood are the title tracks comic recasting of the fable of orpheus to a moody stomp and "supernaturally" with its rolling latin piano sound . I prefer the "lyre of orpheous" and feel its one of his best works , but coupled together this is essential stuff- highly accessible too so recommended for potential new fans. 9/10

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    B-Sides And Rarities ( 2005 )
    Deanna / The Mercy Seat / City Of Refuge / The Moon Is In The Gutter / Six Strings That Drew Blood / Rye Whiskey / Running Scared / Black Betty / Scum / The Girl At The Bottom Of The Glass / The Train Song / Cocks N Asses / Blue Bird / Helpless / Gods Hotel / Love You Til The End Of The World / Cassiels Song / Tower Of Song / What Can I Give You / What A Wonderful World / Rainy Night In Soho / Lucy / Jack The Ripper / Sail Away / Theres No Night Out In The Jail / That's What Jazz Is To Me / The Willow Garden / Ballad Of Robert Moore and Betty Coltrane / King Kong Kitchee Kitchee Ki Mi O / Knowville Girl / Where The Wild Roses Grow / O Malleys Bar 1 / O Malleys Bar 2 / O Malleys Bar 3 / Time Jesum Transeuntum Et Non Riverentum / O Malleys Bar Reprise / Red Right Hand / Little Empty Boat / Right Now I'm A Roaming / Come Into My Sleep / Black Harir / Babe I Got You Bad / Sheep May Safely Graze / Opium Tea / Grief Came Riding / Bless His Ever Loving Heart / Good Good Day / Little Janeys Gone / I Feel So Good / Shoot Me Down / Swing Low / Little Ghost Song / Everything Must Converge / Nocturama / She's Leaving You / Under The Moon

    Nick Cave himself hails this Bad Seeds collection of b-sides, stray singles and rarities as his favourite Bad Seeds record of them all. It certainly contains some gems along the way, that's for sure. It also contains songs that deserved to be b-sides, quite frankly. So, something of a mixed bag yet the sheer amount of songs here satisfies and any Nick fan is guaranteed to find something glorious they haven't heard before. Put all the songs on random in a playlist and just listen. In such a spirit, i'm going to comment on a few songs via this random playlist method. First up is 'Helpless', a 'Good Son' era b-side that contains all the majesty of the highlights of that particular album set. A neat run-through of 'Black Betty' featuring no music as such, just various bad-seeds stomping and making a racket with their feet and hands. Good stuff! The roaring 'She's Leaving You' from 2004 shows just how inspired was Cave's muse circa the 'Abbatoir/Orpheus' sessions whilst 'Swing Low' from 2003 shows a far less inspired Cave writing wise, yet this piece of melodrama still sounds wonderful through the natural organic sound the bad seeds acheived circa 'Nocturama'. Another gem from 'The Good Son' sessions arrives with 'The Train Song', a song every bit as good as any that made the final 'Good Son' line-up. It's such gems as these that make 'B-Sides and Rarities' an essential Cave purchase.

    Generally, disc III which covers the years 1997 onwards is the least satisfying of the three discs that make up this set, although i've already mentioned at least one stellar highlight from this disc. Another must surely be the 'Boatmans Call' era track, 'Right Now I'm A Roaming'. This is such a sweet song, it showcases a happy, loving and crooning Nick Cave. The music is full of sweet bass and brushed drums, delicate keyboard and organ work. It's a work of majesty. Oh, oh, OH!!! Another highlight from Disc III is the brilliantly affecting 'Little Ghost Song' from 2003. Better than a good half of the 'Nocturama' album, at least. We navigate through various b-sides which are mid-tempo and generally don't go anywhere. This album collection isn't a set you'll listen to from start to finish, rather dip into now and then to wallow within. 'Cassiels Song' from 1993 is a lovely string assisted ballad that was originally the b-side to 'Do You Love Me'. Ah, a mighty highlight I can mention that's on disc I is the Nick Cave and Bad Seeds stormingly aggressively wild run through of the Leonard Cohen track, 'Tower Of Song'. Originally this was released on a Cohen tribute LP that featured various artists doing kind of serious and po-faced renditions of Cohen tunes. It took the bad seeds to really capture the essence of the humour contained with the best Cohen tunes. Oh, but of course!

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    Eoin gleesone@tcd.ie
    If you allow yourself to persevere with your random selection approach to listening to this album you'll come across (I'll Love You) Till the end of the World and Shane McGowan's version of Lucy; two absolutely astonishing songs. I'm mystified as to how you could ignore them in your review. Maybe you've had them for a while.Other hightlights for me were Opium Tea and Knoxville Girl. I thought this album would purge the memory of Abbatoir Blues and it has. A thankful 9 out of 10.

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    Grinderman ( 2007 )
    Get It On / No Pussy Blues / Electric Alice / Grinderman / Depth Charge Ethel / Go Tell the Woman / I Don't Need You (To Set Me Free) / Honey Bee (Let's Fly to Mars) / Man in the Moon / When My Love Comes Down / Love Bomb

    What are the changes and the thought process behind Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds becoming 'Grinderman'? Well, it's a stripped down, basic four piece rock 'n' roll combo, for starters. No piano anywhere to be seen which Nick has been using as his compositional tool for more than ten years. Nick is no guitar player as such, yet combine that with the other guys jamming and the songs coming together from the four of them. It's a democratic album and as such, not Nick Cave and..... it's a new beast. Comparisons will inevitably be made with both The Bad Seeds and The Birthday Party. There's nothing new here, rather a cross between the two updated for the 21st century. Nick Cave is even looser than usual with his vocal and lyrical attack. These lyrics are appropriate for the project, harking back to his less literate ( although still great ) lyrics of The Birthday Party era. Indeed, Nick Cave hasn't brought the gutter and the blood and bile so successfully to an audience since 'Henry's Dream' or 'Tender Prey'. For that we say hurrah. Oh, a quick word to the unwise. Many of the 'torrent' versions of the album doing the rounds pale in comparison with the real, final, audible mix. Many of the torrents have slightly differing tracklistings and/or inferior sound quality. Just buy the CD already, you know? What are you doing? Back to the matter at hand. This is a great album! Nick Cave and friends show Jack White exactly how ferocious and unhinged the Raconteurs album should have been. Indeed, a fifty-year old Nick reveals his lost none of his bite and anger over the years. Well, 'Get It On' sounds like a recent Bad Seeds tune. It's good, but not quite the devil's horns. 'No Pussy Blues' is where the real meat begins. It's no Tracy Pew on bass, yet everything else for the track goes back to the fury and noise of The Birthday Party at their finest. No, really, it does. It's The Stooges times ten. Have you heard The Stooges latest? Steve Albini ruins it, for me. But, that's another story and shall be told another time. 'No Pussy Blues' reveals how it should be done. Manic guitar and noise, hilarious lyrics, prime howls from the main man.

    'Electric Alice' seagues into the title track. A dark reflective piece morphing into swamp blues stripped back to the bones. 'Depth Charge Ethel' is indeed depth-charges, a furious stabbing attack. A couple of solid songs, then 'Honey Bee', a couple of solid songs, then 'Love Bomb'. An entire album of the unhinged material would be great. Hell, this still is great, a song like 'Go Tell The Woman' is prime addictive quality and well upto normal Cave standards. Following up 'Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre Of Orpheus' was also going to be a tricky proposition. Grinderman, as it turns out, is the best follow-up imaginable.

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    Liam Liam1331@hotmail.com
    Agreed. Raw, primal stuff. Reminds me of White Light/ White Heat a little, in terms of the sound. Not entirely just because both records have loud organ sounds. The Velvet Underground are obviously a reference point anyway. The self put-downs are hilarious in contrast with the disturbing stuff Nick would come up with for The Birthday Party. Everything here is great, there just isn't 'that' song here which hangs higher above the others, for me anyway. Although neither is there any dips.... Hyperbole: one of my favourite albums of this year so far. Certainly the most played.

    GAZZA E Scotland
    Possibly the best mid life crisis album ever .Cave with the bad seeds stripped down to the bare bones and all the better for it . 1st track is like the mission impossible theme played by the stooges , 2nd like its alright ma played by spacemen 3 and the third finds nick jamming with the velvets during white light white heat . And so it becomes clear this is nick trying on new clothes partly to please himself and partly to entertain."man on the moon" is a lovely little sidestep from all the fuzz guitars and repressed emotions and is a touching little tribute to his father . "no pussy blues" highlights the dilemna of being too young to die and too old to pull or even just rock . Just how does one age properly in rock n roll ?? Nick seems to be giving it a good go . 'grinderman' becomes a lot more than a side project or a detour - it can stand proudly along side the best of his work . 8/10

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    Dig Lazarus Dig 8 ( 2008 )
    Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! / Today's Lesson / Moonland / Night Of The Lotus Eaters / Albert Goes West / We Call Upon The Author / Hold On To Yourself / Lie Down Here (And Be My Girl) / Jesus Of The Moon / Midnight Man / More News From Nowhere

    Not always going to be easy for Nick Cave, is it? What? Well, releasing quality albums. He's pushing on fifty now and we keep waiting and worrying for that dip into sedate middle age. Couple of albums i've been worried it might actually be happening, yet last years 'Grinderman' LP seems to have pointed the way forwards for now. Having said that, 'Dig, Lazarus, Dig' isn't as garagey as 'Grinderman', has a pretty accomplished modern rock production, yet with one or two important differences. Firstly, Nick himself makes things different to the norm with tales of ghosts and resurrections, etc. The bad-seeds cook, with funky bass guitar and squelching lead guitar parts, as and when appropriate. A couple of songs spread out over five/six minutes. So, Nick has a tough catalogue to pitch any new album against? Well, yeah, but this latest effort matches his good albums of the past, if not his very finest albums. The title track is up ( or should that be down? ) there in Cave's personal blood splattered ball-park. A riff, a tale of terror and intrigue! 'Night Of The Lotus Eaters' is spine-chillingly great, consisting only of Cave softly praying and warning and quietly meditating whilst a two note bass-riff goes round and round. That's it. Well, apart from noises of disquiet in the background from various bad-seeds. It's quite a track and reminds me of the better material from 'Your Funeral My Trial', so it does. Sorry, i'm not Irish, really.

    I haven't read up for this review, incidentally. Nope, no reading of the reviews on the net or elsewhere, so i've no idea how generally the album has been perceived or what especially people are saying about it. I like it like that, sometimes. With a guy like Nick Cave, where i'm terribly familiar with the vast majority of his material, sometimes it's best just to delve straight in. Ah, love the bass-riffs that 'decorate' 'We Call Upon The Author'. Ah, love the middle section where it all drops out and it sounds like someone is having a shave. No, really! Have to say that the bad-seeds rhythm section are really on form throughout 'Dig, Lazarus, Dig'. Losing Blixa a couple of years ago has changed the collective. The guitar is more squally and the songs are different. Well, the double 'Abbatoir Blues' set was properly singer-songwriterly but i'm enjoying this current phase. Less serious, more funk, lots of fun. Which is better is down to personal preference. Personally, I think it's going to be a long time before he tops that 'Abbatoir Blues' set, but we'll see. He keeps trying, keeps pummelling away. He's got a lot to say during 'We Call Upon The Author' and it's a stellar track. 'Lie Down Here And Be My Girl' is catchy and should be a single, let's get it into the top ten. Well, why not? It'll scare the guys at radio one, at any rate, which has to be a good thing.

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    Funkadelic O\'Hara
    This is another fine Bad Seeds album. Just needs a little time to sink in, is all. My only complaint is that the album doesn't flow all that well, and sounds more like a bunch of songs jumbled together than a cohesive album

    If I hadn't heard any other of Nick Cave's albums I'd give "Dig" a 10 without question. On it's own, it's far superior to anything out there this year. However, when you put it into Nick's catalogue, your grade of 8 is probably fairly close -- although I'd still give it 8-9! The tunes are more accessible to the general public but the words are still vintage Nick. Perhaps that's why it's No. 4 on the top 40 this week!

    Caves turned 50 but he seems more energised and vital than at any stage of his career . film scripts,2 soundtracks,side projects have all appeared since "abbatoir blues" - the guy just does not stop striving to create . "lazarus" is another great bad seeds record , difference since "abbatoir blues" is that its warren ellis rather than mick harvey who is his main collaborator . Hence we get more loops,distortion and subtle instrumental touches like the flute on "jesus of the moon" . Like most cave albums this offers more communications from the frontline on america,religion,sexual obsession,literature and death. Theres also more humorous,playful touches to his music and lyrics and cave produces amazing vocal performances to match whereas in places on nocturama and no more shall we part he came across as tired and hoarse. There doesnt seem a weak track and looking for highpoints the funky audacious title track , "todays lesson" and the mindboggling "we call u! pon the author" all hit the spot . If anything i think think youve underrated it a bit. 9/10

    Gideon IR
    This is the first album I've heard by Nick Cave and I must say I find it quite wonderful. From the great rockers (the first and second tracks) to the more sophisticated and thoughtful ones (More News From Nowhere, Jesus Of The Moon) so all-in-all I'd give it a 9.5 But maybe Mac is right and after listening to Cave's later albums I'll find this one not as good

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    Grinderman 2 8 ( 2010 )
    Mickey Mouse And The Goodbye Man / Worm Tamer / Heathen Child / When My Baby Comes / What I Know / Evil / Kitchenette / Palaces Of Montezuma / Bellringer Blues'

    "You know my baby calls me the loch ness monster? Two great big humps and then i'm gone...."

    With the debut Grinderman effort it was hard to tell where The Bad Seeds ended and Grinderman began. A decent set, it was clear however that we didn't want or even really need a mere repetition of it. I personally didn't even expect another Grinderman album believing there to be little point. Sure, some of this follow-up is decidely throwaway yet at other times you imagine this is exactly what The Birthday Party would sound like if resurrected in the 21st century. A dirty mess of blues, sexual lyrics, funny lyrics and guitars that smash and stab and emerge gloriously blood-stained. Back to The Birthday Party and indeed early Bad Seeds albums, they would create songs with structures that made no or little sense. It left you thinking... where on earth of hell does this sound COME from? 'Heathen Child', the third track here and first single makes one feels the same way. Huge walls of serrating guitar edges, Cave in a relaxed and spontaneous lyrical mood. Album highlight 'When My Baby Comes' revolves around a classy, hypnotic groove, adds in violin for texture and rolls along for six highly involving minutes, including a fierce noisy ending section to throw you against the previous softer, mesmerising ebb and flow.

    Sadly, after a tremendous first half, the second half of 'Grinderman 2' simply runs out of steam, bar the odd remaining flicker of evil and energy. Spent, 'What I know' is the sound of half a song, 'Evil' much better as it drunkenly clatters angrily out of the speakers, yes, even your mobile phone speakers will make this thing sound angry and immense. 'Palaces Of Montezuma' is more of a modern day Bad Seeds tune than a Grinderman one, with softer textures, cooing background vocals, utterly intriguing lyrics. It's an utter triumph and joins at least 'Heathen Child' and 'When My Baby Comes' as a tune to stick on your Nick Cave folder to upload to your IPOD (other MP3 players are available).

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    Push The Sky Away 9 ( 2013 )
    We No Who U R / Wide Lovely Eyes / Water's Edge / Jubilee Street / Mermaids / We Real Cool / Finishing Jubilee Street / Higgs Boson Blues / Push the Sky Away

    File under Nick Cave : Mellow. Yes, after Grinderman Cave returns to his Bad Seeds mother-ship and retreats away from the noisy rock shenanigans of Griderman and music echoing his earlier musical career. The is the first 'Bad Seeds' album not to feature original member Mick Harvey, as such, you can sense something of a change afoot. Long-term Cave fans may well not initially get to like this set of slow to mid-paces musings that wander around texture and intriguing musical patterns. Back to Mick Harvey, Cave asks back Barry Adamson on Bass for a couple of tracks and Mick Harvey and Ellis Warren apart, the line-up most resembles that of 'The Good Son' record. Hitting number three on the UK album charts and going top-thirty on Billboard, 'Push The Sky Away', for such a seemingly unassuming kind of record also represents one of Nick Cave's commercial peaks. Nick is now a fifty-five year old man, kind of incredible when you think about other artists work by that age - Nick is not as prolific as he once was, but putting out such an artistic and yes, vital work as this so late in the day needs applauding, even if you don't want to. Multi-instrumentalist Warren Ellis rises to the fore as key Cave musical collaborator. Once it was impossible to think of The Bad Seeds without their guitar great Blixa Bargeld, now without Mick Harvey either it would be easy to dismiss this initially unassuming set of songs as 'not as good as...' enter your favourite Cave album here. Some have compared this record to 'The Boatmans Call' but really the musical forms are very different. 'Boatmans Call' was an album, essentially, of Piano ballads then embellished with bass, percussion etc. No main instrument dominates 'Push The Sky Away' and each instrument plays short, looping and repeating phrases to build up quiet, yet purposeful rhythmic beds for Nick to sing and lyricise over the top of.

    Opener 'We No Who U R' for instance paints pictures of without the story-telling of old - yes, Nick is painting with words now. Organ, violin, bass and unobtrusive percussion go round and round in a most understated fashion - the Organ and bass providing particular warmth. Nick's voice, accompanied by female harmonies, comes across as far deeper and richer than recent Grinderman and Bad Seeds albums, helped no doubt by the slower pace and a natural, organic sounding mix. 'Wide Lovely Eyes' meanwhile becomes one of the most beautiful Cave dark-soul ballads ever, the guitar simply plays a repeating clicking sound, and that's assuming that even is the guitar - when the band join in on far off distant harmonies - this heart melts, for one. 'Wide Lovely Eyes' reminds me of 'The Good Son', a good thing to be reminded of, always. 'Water's Edge' is half a novel in under four minutes, the Piano lines evoking the wild-west in this listener. Lead single 'Jubilee Street' has soaring violins courtesy of Ellis whilst 'Mermaids' is the entire 'Nocturama' album but maturer and richer and with purpose. Whilst 'Finishing Jubilee Street' and 'We Real Cool' count as atmosphere fitting with the rest of the record, but songs that would die without their surroundings, 'Higgs Boson Blues' is a near eight minute wonder, not played loud but containing some menace all the same. It's one of those songs that could be five minutes, twenty-two minutes or indeed seven minutes fifty as it is, and still astonish. To close, the atmosphere switches back to something approaching Nick Cave gospel with the Organ led atmospherics of the title track, which when it fades out makes you wish it hadn't just done so.

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    this page last updated 08/02/14

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