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Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - Nocturama

  by Julia Willis

published: 9 / 2 / 2003

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - Nocturama
Label: Mute Records
Format: CD


"Raw and uninhibited" twelfth album from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, recorded in the space of a week during last year's Australian tour

Nocturama, when creatures stir whose lives take place under the light of the moon and in the shadows. The moment at which the moon lights the sky and the day is forgotten, when your mind twines itself around the thoughts of all those things you could have said, into the recesses of the mind that require the forces of darkness to twist them. The night is lonely before you drift off to sleep and your subconscious comes out to play. From the Birthday Party’s demise in the early 80's and The Bad Seeds’ rising from the ashes in 1983 Nick Cave and his band have toyed with an esoteric melodrama understood by those creatures who see all the beauty in sadness. Described as Leonard Cohen with richer vocals and a better band, 'Nocturama', Nick Cave’s twelfth studio album with the Bad Seeds, has received mixed reviews from critics all agreeing its a far cry from 2001’s 'No More Shall We Part'. Some believe he’s come of age wistfully, growing into a life shaped by experience, others prefer to take tracks like 'Dead Man In My Bed', as a blistering return to their thrashy rock n roll days, and see Cave as the austere naysayer of fire and brimstone. The final track, 'Babe, I’m on Fire' flails wildly for an epic 40 verses over 15 minutes. Episodes like these allow The Bad Seeds-guitarists Blixa Bargeld and Mick Harvey, bassist Martyn P. Casey, drummer Thomas Whydler, percussionist Jim Sclavunos and violinist Warren Ellis- freedom to riot in stormy waters before being pulled back in the still water’s unseen turbulent undercurrents. Fearing many of his earlier albums suffered from overproduction, Cave allowed one week for the learning and recording of the album during some free time during their Australian tour in early 2002 wanting little time for reflection and retouching, rendering the album raw and uninhibited. Whilst there are rancourous fissures in the more recognisable plaintive piano-ballads which follow familiar Bad Seeds themes of love and death, the motif here seems to be an uneasy acknowledgement of the presence of love. 'Rock of Gibraltar' celebrates the bittersweet endurance of love against the odds, but is still tainted, in closing, by the possibility of betrayal. The album’s first track builds hopefully layer by layer, winding around a fluid bassline, nihilistically but acutely aware that ‘it’s a wonderful life, if you can find it.’ Nocturama is that place that’s characteristically Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds in its uncharacteristic spellbinding, haunting beauty and guiling comedic wordplay. The night is lonely before you drift off to sleep and your subconscious comes out to play.

Track Listing:-
1 Wonderful Life
2 He Wants You
3 Right Out Of Your Hand
4 Bring It On
5 Dead Man In My Bed
6 Still In Love
7 There Is A Town
8 Rock Of Gibraltar
9 She Passed By My Window
10 Babe, I'm On Fire

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