7 March 2013

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Push The Sky Away

Nick Cave & his evil spawn in waiting. So far I have reviewed two of their back catalogue; however, this is the newest one. It's all shiney and has not had years to wash around my brain. To be honest it has not had twenty four hours to wash around it. But it sort of got put to the side in light of Mr Bowie and his latest opus (more on that one later). However I did want to review this one at some point. So, once more into the mindscape of this strange romantically cruel world I tread.

This is the first album to be released without founding member Mick Harvey, but it does welcome another former Bad Seed back in the form of Mr Barry Adamson (bass player) who had not been on a Bad Seeds album since 'Your Funeral....My Trial'.  It was produced in France with the help of Nick Launay who has produced the last three Bad Seeds records and well as the two Grinderman albums as well.  So you’re getting a level of consistency here from the outset.  Both the band and producer are in a sort of harmony. Now this can sometimes be a problem - please see Metallica and Bob Rock for proof of this. Sometimes people get too comfortable in each other's skin and they don't challenge any further. Is this the case here?

First thing I want to say is that this album is bare. I have seen more meat on a chicken nugget from McDonalds.  It is so minimalist that it makes 'The Boatman's Call' sound like it was made by the Polyphonic Spree. It is on such a level of bare and tortured that it just hypnotic and scary to be honest. The lyrics are supposed to come from the darker side of the internet that Mr Cave was trailing through as the album was being written. You have songs about Mermaids (called "Mermaids") and the opening song/single "We No Who U R" is just a stone cold riddle about life and all of its mysteries. "We Real Cool" has the sort of rumbling bass sound which made "The Mercy Seat" such a harrowing statement that when the floating piano comes over you feel like jumping as if your sitting through a bad horror movie on a Saturday night.

Now, first impressions sometimes last. My first impression of this album was.... hunger. I felt there was more to be gained from the release. Clocking in at just over 42 minutes and nine tracks long I just wished something else to come from it.  Don't get me wrong, what is on offer here is quality and is not to be turned down. However, with the last couple of releasing from Mr Cave coming in the form of Grinderman (which is a project I prefer to be honest) I guess the minimalist work is just a slight come down in some ways.  Then again, the Bad Seeds have been a quieter beast for many years. Also this album is not without its bite, it is just a slower bite.  The more I hear the album, the more charming it becomes. It rewards you with more, whilst still being as empty as a man who worked on the program 'Made in Chelsea'.

I will probably wish I had waited a while before reviewing this, I will probably want to change the mark I'm going to give in a few months when I figure out that the album is a stone cold classic.  But that is not the way we work here in All The Time Towers. Once marked, the review stays - this album is very very very good, and I recommend it to anyone who has even a slight liking of the new man in black. I just don't have the joy I got from 'Dig Lazarus Dig' or Henry's Dream - however it is not a bad mark, far from it if you look below. I do have a nagging feeling that more is going to be coming from this album and I will gladly eat my words in regards to this, and as always - any music from the Bad Seeds is always good. 

8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

You can purchase from here
You can listen to it on Spotify here

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