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Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – No More Shall We Part

Label: Mute Format: CD, limited 2CD

No More Shall We Part - sleeve It occurs to me as I listen to this new effort by Nick Cave that I might like to have never heard of him. In fact I add up the years and it has been at least nineteen since I first did so. I think I have loved him ever since. No one is able to express such ugliness and cynicism in such a beautiful way. I am sure that he has been responsible in part for the viceral red-tinged view that I take on love and devotion. Always just one fine line between loving and loving to death. Always a proof in poetry that love and hate are nearly the same thing. That there is a matrimony between life and death which will almost never be denied by hope or other sillier sunnier notions.

I did resist liking this album. Opening song “As I Sit Sadly By Her Side” features Mr. Cave making a vocal attempt so far from how I am used to hearing him. O, how difficult it is to accept change. I really, literally, cringed, though there is nothing wrong with the voice he is using, it is just different. A friend once said that he doubted Cave would ever be happy until his records were listed with the likes of Sinatra and Leonard Cohen. Male vocalist. Superstar. The man wants to be a crooner. I never understood the statement, I always thought of Nick Cave as the best of crooners. And I doubt he will ever be happy at any classification. Perhaps my friend was right and this stretching of the vocal ranges is an example of his desires. I wonder then if he was unable to keep it up, or if there is just something special about that song because all the others do sound just like Cave always sounds. His voice playing like a violin and finding all the curves and waves of sound that one just doesn’t expect so that he never sounds just like everyone else. Forcing words into rhymes where they just should not fit. Finding melodies that round over the physical body not unlike a network of blood rich veins. Easy enough to sing with, easy enough to be soothed by.

The album also contains the rabble-rousing songs done to nearly a Nick Cave formula; religious angst, Gospel arrangement, foot stomping defeat of glory. “Fifteen Feet Of Pure White Snow” is to be released as the hit single, allegedly, though the swelling of “Oh My Lord” is a bit more to my own liking. Cave always puts his heart right out on the examining table, despising of organized religion, a great loving of his own God. Bitter themes from And The Ass Saw The Angel are reiterated in “God Is In The House”, which tells the story of a town absolutely smothered in purity, drowning without any true love. In fact, most all the songs tell a good tale and reading the lyric sheet is as expected from Mr.Cave, always like reading a really good collection of short stories. The musicianship involved in No More Shall We Part is impeccable. Blixa Bargeld and Mick Harvey stand by Mr.Cave and equal him in music for voice. Anna and Kate McGarringle provide lovely female backing voices (though not nearly enough). Also, the limited edition double CD has two extra tracks and an MPEG video as the bonus.

Basically it is as I said before, all just what you would expect from an epic Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds production. I do think it will have a stronger impact on the new inductees it calls out to Cave’s wailing than it does on us old die hard fans though.

-Lilly Novak-

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