You've heard him repeatedly on Peaky Blinders so if you haven't already caught up with Nick Cave's sixteen or so studio albums with his Bad Seeds then there's no time like the present. Push the Sky Away was his 2013 album which showed that time had withered none of his songwriting and arrangement skills. It's a slow moving record of stripped down songs and heartfelt paeans somewhat at odds perhaps with the more brutal landscapes of his records earlier in the decade but showcasing the more introspective side of his oeuvre.
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The evergreen Aussie troubadour Nick Cave is back this week with the latest offering from his all-star Bad Seeds. This one is based on a notebook of observations he made from the window of his Brighton home, and is largely comprised of introspective, moody and often heartfelt numbers which showcase Cave’s downbeat skills in a way comparable to albums like ‘No More Shall We Part’ or ‘Nocturama’, but often with some subtle electronic elements mixed in.
It’s quite slinky and strangely detached, in contrast to the aforementioned ‘No More...’, sexualised but weary, perhaps resignedly voyeuristic, and there’s often an unsettling undercurrent like the songs are about to burst into violence which never comes, the closest the LP gets to rock music being the weirdly percussive ‘Water’s Edge’. In places, like the lengthy ‘Higgs Boson Blues’, he brings to mind the sleaze-soul rock of the Afghan Whigs, and then the title track which closes is a cool, timeless ballad.
I wasn’t sold on it on first listen but approaching it again with fresh ears and a better idea of what to expect I’ve made a complete U-turn. Perhaps I was just in a bad mood first time round, maybe it’s a grower, maybe his class is just standing out among the other chaff I’ve had to review today, but this time round it sounds great! You can count on Nick, can’t you.
8/10 Shaun D. 24th December 2014
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds afford spectators with a compulsory listen in Push the Sky Away. The bulk of the artists’ contribution is controlled venom with Nick and his viscount’s choppers revealing most glaringly for the duration of the coda of “Jubilee Street” and the breadth of “Higgs Bosom Blues.” This listener is fresh to Nick and his merry mob but mesmerized even so. “Push the Sky Away”, the track, is trance-like in a progressive approach and this listener delineates “Jubilee Street” as obligatory listening irrespective of existing musical venerations and preconceived philosophies.
8/10 Michael 31st October 2014
A very considered album, which ebbs and pulses with subtly from the first track.
After Dig (and Grinderman 2), Push The Sky Away stands out as being much more restrained overall, with a mellow confidence that is both a little menacing (Finishing Jubilee Street), meditative (Push The Sky Away), and carnal (Higgs Boson Blues). In fact, if anything I would say this album is pretty bottom-weighted, with side B offering a sleazier, creepier response to side A's comparatively desolate melodies and idle, trembling undertones.
It creaks with balance, and overall shines as a record which will (hopefully) only reward the listener with more and more as years go by. Even if you're new to Mr Cave, this should be an album you make the effort to pick up.
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