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Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away

  by Fiona Hutchings

published: 9 / 3 / 2013

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away
Label: Mute Records
Format: CD


Enthralling fifteenth album from Nick Cave and the bad seeds, which reflects on the invasive influence of the interent on 21st century culture

'Push the Sky Away' is the fifteenth album from those most excellent purveyors of dirty, slightly sleazy but always clever alt. rock, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Previous albums have taken inspiration from genres as diverse as the Gothic, blues, punk and of course murder ballads featuring a certain pop princess as the victim. Their last album, 'Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!', is a very firm favourite in my house, and has raised my expectations sky high for this, their next offering. Apparently the songs on the album were written over the course of twelve months and "took form in a modest notebook" kept by Cave. These notes were composed from "Googling curiosities, being entranced by exotic Wikipedia entries whether they’re true or not." According to Cave, the songs illustrate how the internet has influenced "significant events, momentary fads and mystically-tinged absurdities", and "question how we might recognise and assign weight to what's genuinely important." But as I lifted that whole quote from Wikipedia who knows whether it is true or not indeed. The album cover features Cave opening a shutter in a starkly white room, casting light on the naked form of his wife, Susie Bick. It makes me think of shining lights into private spaces. I think that is the point and is a reoccurring theme in the band's work. Interestingly in a recent interview with 'The Guardian' Cave was at pains to point out wasn't his idea. He walked in on his wife's photoshoot for a French magazine, and the photographer happened to press the shutter button: "I was more reluctant to use it than she was, to be honest." The title of opener 'We No Who U R' annoys me. Its spelling jars somehow but its slow sad sounds won me over before we reach the first chorus. 'Wide Lovely Eyes' is similarly sombre, like the hymn they play quietly in church while you wait for the coffin to arrive at a funeral. Cave is a master at lamenting with pathos not predictable, trite and ultimately empty rhymes. This is still true and has possibly never been better demonstrated than on this album. 'Water's Edge' seems to simmer with suppressed rage, and 'Jubilee Street' is anything but jubilant. It is, however, haunting and mesmerising. 'Mermaids' does little to lighten the mood .and 'We Real Cool' features mournful violins and the bass sounds like thunder rumbling in the near distance. You ready yourself for the lightning strike but it never comes, and 'Finishing Jubilee Street' feels almost uncomfortably intimate. The penultimate track, 'Higgs Boson Blues' has more guitars and growling but by now I have accepted that this dark and encompassing mood is not going to lighten at any point. The title track closes the album and has an almost ethereal feel. Like the eight tracks before it, the delicate touch is in the music where melodies and counter melodies are so skilfully interwoven that it gives an impression of tender vulnerability which the lyrics then counter with delicious venom. As the music faded away after I listened to it a first time, I was left feeling I had experienced something more than simply listening to a new album. It had left me moved but I was not quite sure where or how. The only option was to listen to it again. And again. And again.

Track Listing:-
1 We No Who U R
2 Wide Lovely Eyes
3 Water's Edge
4 Jubilee Street
5 Mermaids
6 We Real Cool
7 Finishing Jubilee Street
8 Higgs Boson Blues
9 Push the Sky Away

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