It’s been a long time coming, but the 15th album from Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds proves to have been well worth the wait. It is, quite simply, extraordinary. Arguably the band’s finest work.
For the past two weeks I’ve been listening to this album every morning on the train as I head to work. By the time I get to London Waterloo, I am astral.
The album is softer and more melancholic than the band’s previous projects. Nick Cave’s baritone vocal is as dark and brooding as ever, but less menacing, more melancholic. There’s not a bad song on the album, but standout tracks are “We No Who U R”, “Jubilee Street”, “Mermaids” and the astonishing “Higgs Boson Blues”. Anyone who can reference Miley Cyrus, Robert Johnson and the Higgs Boson in the same song to deliver an existential masterpiece is ok in my book.
The album’s greatness owes as much to the talents of multi-instrumentalist Warren Ellis as it does to the poetic inventiveness of Nick Cave. Warren Ellis’s distorted guitar tone is organic and sonically rich. His haunting riffs float in the ether. They exude fragility and vulnerability.
Throughout the album Warren Ellis uses his signature 23″-scale 4-string tenor solid body electric that he developed with Eastwood Guitars to serve up some unique tonal qualities.
Nick Cave says:
Well, if I were to use that threadbare metaphor of albums being like children, then Push The Sky Away is the ghost-baby in the incubator and Warren’s loops are its tiny, trembling heart-beat.
Compared to a few weeks ago, the early morning commute by train to London Waterloo now offers an altogether different kind of journey.