What's missing here?

This is the new album from Nick Cave's Badder Seeds, including Warren Ellis (Dirty 3), Martyn Casey and NYC demigod Jim Sclavunos. Formidable presences all. The album should be good, it is good, it sounds good, it's impressive. It's not really that good.

Maybe 2 is an overly tidy encapsulation of Cave's entire career, a stereotype of an archetype flattened into a narrow bandwidth. Maybe there's a whiff of contrived noir, a bit of pre-fab desperation from artists that practically codified that state in this music. Or maybe there's something too simplistic about the way the songs resolve, and the overall demeanor leans too much, if not solely, on style. Mass quantities of which Cave probably had upon being shot into this world. That's why he'll always be worth watching—his status in the borderlands of goth, post-punk and murder-lit unchallenged by anyone but himself.

Of course there are moments when skill and experience win out over predictability: the guitar opening into a smoldering, hallucinatory desert on "When My Baby Comes"; something similar and different on the closing "Bellringer Blues," which opens with 70 seconds of guitar roil and keyboard storm. Then, Cave sings: "I saw my old friend Gabriel, down the perimeter ringing a bell / I said 'hello'." And you can't help but think—"Dude, again with this?"

Sure, it's what he does. Precisely the sort of stuff about which just enough and yet too many people will say, "Yeah, but I really love hearing him cut loose like this." I'll hedge by admitting that I do too, to an extent. Not enough of an extent to bring me back to this record though. [ANTI-]

-Mike Wolf



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  1. Luc Rodgers says:

    Maybe the cover should be:

    I mean, we all Uncle Nick. Just sayin'.

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