Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Push The Sky Away

Endlessly endearing and enviably talented, Nick Cave returns with the Bad Seeds and another left turn, this time even more noticeable since the last effort (Dig Lazarus Dig) was such a raucous affair.

We should probably come to expect this from Cave, as Murder Ballads bequeath Boatman’s Call, and therefore it should come as no surprise that album number fifteen is the quiet and reflective Push The Sky Away.

It took me several listens to wrap my head around this record, and I think the delay was nothing but the shock of hearing Cave sound his age again, and the reality is that it may take a traveled person to really appreciate what’s going on with this record.

Because its simplicity is deceiving, but it also enables you to appreciate the beauty that comes from Cave’s distinctive voice and the wonderful draw of his words.

It’s what kept me coming back-those words. They’re filled with big, curious themes. Some of which he’s explored before, but that doesn’t mean they’re worth reviewing. After all, weighty topics like mortality, love, religion and mermaids sometimes need a second glance.

With the additional look, you’ll hear such incredible details like “I watch your hands like butterflies landing” right next to such naughty musings as “I was the match that would fire up her snatch.”

Producer Nick Launay wisely leaves Cave’s voice out in front, highlighting its age when needed, its desperation when it’s called for, and its dark perversion when everything else fails.

The Seeds find Warren Ellis again stepping up with remarkable restraint and incredible intuitiveness. Basic loop structures are introduced with very little else added to the mix; a spare piano, a lone guitar and a simple rhythm are usually the rest of the performances. The bare atmosphere that is created throughout the album makes it something dark and timeless.

Push The Sky Away is subtle masterpiece that is diminished only by the artist’s already impressive catalog. But to be honest, after my own repeated listens there is nothing else in the man’s work that I’d rather listen to at this moment.

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