Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Nick Cave; Ripples In A Lake

Nick Cave apparently knows no limits to the widths and depths of possibility.  Some of his records hit you over the head immediately and say here I am, look at me! Some lurk in the corner and wait for you to discover them in your own good time. 'Push The Sky Away' is one of the latter.

When the first single was released, I have to admit, I was a bit put off. It was spelled We No Who U R. For better or worse, I am still resistant to the text spelling trends though I find myself texting more and more these days. It seems to be the new email. Of course, it also sounded like his song 'Abattoir Blues', which I love (the song and album), but it sounded like a bit of a repeat.

Well, I need not have worried, well ok I did with Jubilee Street a bit at first, but I think it only took hearing it a number of times, without that video, for it to grow like ivy in the spring on brick.

That is the essence of this record. It lurks, and it grows. There is just enough of a hook here and there to bring you back in your haze of uncertainty. 'Wide Lovely Eyes' is beautiful. 'The Water's Edge' hearkens back to 'Sad Waters' with its quiet menace, but this new song has a little new release at the end.

'Mermaids' is endlessly fascinating. It prowls and meanders hither and yon from a bad relationship to  religion, to fantasy and hope. The melody does just the same rising when you least expect to a peak of hope that rises above all that came before. Hope is, after all, all that we really have from day to day.

The entire experience casts a spell. There appears to be a bit of a narrative and continuity. There is a connection with the elements of water and air and breath and life that lurks below in the undertow of the Bad Seeds' music that sets off the sometimes ambiguous words perfectly. I can't help but think of James Joyce a bit here. Except here we have Brighton, where Nick now lives, instead of Dublin. There are a number of voices and lives and experiences across this 45 minutes, and I find myself endlessly drawn back over and over.

I laughed and cryed to 'Mermaids' alone.

I wondered at 'Higgs Boson Blues' and its lonely protagonist on his futile journey of loneliness, and the seemingly more autobiographical, 'Finishing Jubilee Street', and I cried again a bit during the song, 'Push The Sky Away. Life is futile, but life is rich. Life is empty, but life is beautiful. You can try to end the futility, but you'll miss so much. That's what I get from this record.

At first, I was a little annoyed at Warren's loops. I love his violin playing, it's why I love him, and his loops, to me grew a little loathsome on Grinderman 2, but my mind has adjusted to the new template. Well, that is the thing. This is new. The first Grinderman, to me was amazing, and the second, not so much, but now it feels like a palate cleanser for this beauty of a record.

I highly recommend it, and I know my writing about it will never do it justice. It needs to be heard. It demands it. Only, if you do, do not just listen once, dive in again. Pick a spot, pick a song. It is like ripples. One song, whichever you pick, leads forwards and backwards again like ripples in the lake, until the whole is consumed by your ears and brains. See if you agree that this shadow lurking in the corner could become a central figure in the spotlight.

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