Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds review by Steve Miller
Apr 17, 2008, 17:10
NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! CD
The real bad news is that I'm out of Adderall, so this is gonna take some work. Nick Cave, yes, saw 'em for the first time in '86 at Cabaret Metro in Chicago, then again in '89 in Detroit, then in Dallas on that horrible Lollapalooza fiasco, again in Chicago at Metro in 1999, NY and Chicago on the solo tour in 2001, DC 2002, etc. Last time was 2004 in Chicago, again. He sucked. Blixa was gone and it showed. Over these years, Cave has been almost always interesting, and often great.
“Adderall is a pharmaceutical psychostimulant composed of mixed amphetamine salts.” We love it here at the compound. We live in a 1,100-square foot space above a karate studio, in case you were wondering.
So in the past six or so years, Cave has been both OK and awful. Did you like Abattoir Blues / Lyre of Orpheus? Loved “Nature Boy” and “Get Ready for Love” but the rest mostly skated by, like he was wrapping himself in cloth over and over and the lyrics more and more obscure and not in a good way. Not like the royalty that The Boatman's Call delivered. And even when some things over the years grooved, there was no From Her To Eternity moment. That 312 Urban Wheat Beer is okay, but how stupid is it to call it “urban”? Oh, is urban ok today? I heard it was slang for ghetto.
We've been hearing sick-ass terms like “accessible” in relation to this new Cave, but to our ears, it's a finely honed bitch slap to anyone who loved the past three efforts and that's a good thing. Is it the Paxil influence? We hear tinges of 1st album cynicism in the vocal delivery on the title cut, and especially love getting all informal with the biblical title character, calling him “Larry.” We also call Matthew “Matt” when we are drunk in church on Saturday night, but no one notices or the nuns would smack us. Even at our age. And we aren't even Catholic.
Was recently checking the Bad Seeds vid, “God is in the House,” and are relieved to report that our Philip Morris stock will be okay as long as that gang is still alive.
When we play “Albert Goes West,” we get thinking about how smart Nick Cave is, even though he writes these days in his office, if we're to believe Mojo. The fat wall of guitar, a thick, oozing Jesus/Mary Chain-ish wail complimented by “sha la la” vocals is almost too good for us and we want to engage in things much more self-destructive than the usual whiskey and water. “We Call Upon the Author” is pocked with guitar snippets and keyboard swells that are a cousin to the lyric, “With tubes up his nose,” a Cave place that we've always loved since sitting in the cramped apartment in McKinney, Texas, and burned the heat off with solid doses of “Let Love In” and heaps of bad beer and skunky, $40 a gram weed.
Lived in a flop house in Tampa for a year, paid $175 a month, lived on Birthday Party tapes, had a Panasonic boom box as a stereo—that year, Kicking Against the Pricks came out and a savior sent a cassette of it. Worked 3rd shift at a paper factory and got out at 7 AM. It was summer, and the heat was unrelenting and would ride the bike down to the water with those songs pumping through the heart. It was Nick Cave at work.
In fact, The Man has been a great help over the years, someone badass to lean on, to indulge in, to play back-to-back-to-back and faithfully read lyrics along with, to burn candles to, to compliment any sordid activity.
“No wonder you like being alone—listening to this music, you have to be”—sorry-ass ex from the 90s. Married then divorced with kids.
And Lazarus is a return to form and completely different than anything he has done in years, in a very strong way. We can't pay a whole lot of attention to it, but man, wasn't that sounding like shit offa Mutiny? We thought so too.
To be complete as can be under these circumstances, “Larry” is jammed with quirky guitar notes and the best Cave phrasing in years, sometimes tugging from Birthday Party days, other times grabbing on his Sultan of Sad moniker to give us all a reason to get up and head to the stereo before that first cup of tea. He's 50 now, and maybe that really is the new 40. Or 30. Or 20. Does age matter when you listen to life? Ice cream, tricycles, bears, Buick, “More News From Nowhere.” God, ADD is really fun. [Anti]