NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS

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Push the Sky Away

Bad Seed Ltd

Nick Cave’s pre­oc­cu­pa­tions on this record in­volve anx­i­ety about the im­pact of the in­ter­net and the weight of emo­tional and spir­i­tual break­down – in other words, the long nar­ra­tive of loss.

It be­gins un­der­stat­edly with We No Who UR, a slop­ing med­i­ta­tion on the on­line world and its mo­ral rel­a­tivism. The song is ac­com­pa­nied by del­i­cate yet driv­ing gui­tars and wob­bly keys rem­i­nis­cent of the “dew in the morn­ing light” that Cave sings of, and which fea­ture on

What Lovely Eyes, com­ple­ment­ing its choral as­pect.

As Cave warms to his themes, he growls, and Water’s Edge re­po­si­tions him as the preacher he so of­ten chan­nels. In the midst of his homily on con­flict (“the will of love, the thrill of love, ah but the chill of love”), War­ren El­lis’s vi­o­lin flits and flies, pro­vid­ing a sense of yearn­ing, and which We

Real Cool ex­pands on, al­beit with feral gui­tars amid more for­mal pi­ano. Ju­bilee Street is evoca­tive of Codeine, with slow-mov­ing gui­tars and el­e­ments of grunge and even folk in­form­ing an epic song full of chang­ing time sig­na­tures, and El­lis’s strings, so sear­ing and sub­tle. The bluesy

Fin­ish­ing Ju­bilee Street is a kind of meta-song; re­vis­it­ing older themes and work, and the frailty of cre­at­ing art.

Cave has al­ways min­gled di­verse ref­er­ences. In Higgs

Bo­son Blues, Robert John­son is clothed in heavy gui­tars, and the gaudy im­age of yel­low leather shoes is off­set by men­tion of Han­nah Mon­tana, build­ing to a clat­ter­ing crescendo.

Push the Sky Away is a re­ac­tion and coda to the past, with the ti­tle song re­flect­ing on the ec­stasy and ex­haus­tion of life. The record’s fleshy re­al­ism folds in the de­par­ture of Mick Har­vey, and the poignancy of

The Boat­man’s Call, with Mer­maids dis­till­ing what re­mains in­ter­est­ing and true – the prom­ise of won­der. As Cave sings, “I be­lieve in God, I be­lieve in mer­maids, too . . . I be­lieve in the rap­ture”. nick­cave.com

SIOB­HÁN KANE

Down­load: We No Who U R, Ju­bilee Street, Mer­maids

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