Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Skeleton Tree

Currently listening to album number 16 from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds... I'd normally grumble about Skeleton Tree's minimalist packaging - the CD comes in a sturdy, spot varnished mini LP card sleeve complete with an insert featuring the album credits and a photo of Nick in a recording studio, writing notes on a copy book, but this is an album draped in mourning clothes and the music within follows suit - dark, austere, stripped back, apart from Warren Ellis' loops and soundscapes, the Bad Seeds feel absent, the album sounds like a man alone in a room wrestling with unimaginable pain and loss. I haven't delved into the lyrics (none are featured on the CD sleeve) but Arthur Cave's passing is never mentioned directly, the lyrics are often oblique, even hallucinatory. I've listened to the album perhaps half a dozen times now (it runs just under 40mins) and I can safely say it's one of Nick Cave's finest albums, the penultimate son Distant Sky, featuring Theatre of Voices soprano singer Else Torp is one of Cave's most beautiful songs. Essential listening, but you knew that already.

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