Here at Don't Count On It Reviews, you can read reviews from different artists from different styles.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Push The Sky Away (2013)

Band: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Country: Melbourne, Australia
Style: Art Rock/Chamber Pop
Label: Bad Seed Ltd.

Like most people who enjoy neo-western movies, gothic romances, and post-punk - I am a Nice Cave fan. For me, he was one of those essential post-punk artists who I began listening to once I started getting into the genre. This is my first review of a Cave album and I was so excited to finally do a write up for him.
I had heard that this album was fairly tame in comparison to 2008's Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! so I wasn't expecting another rocker like that album but I certainly was not prepared for this. This is a pretty sparse and ambient affair and very mellow for Cave. Now, I'm certainly not against Cave's more somber work, I think The Boatman's Call is one of his finest releases, and this album is definitely drinks from a similar pool as that one. The big difference being that, while that album is lead by piano ballads, this album struck me as being very reminiscent of trip-hop and ambient music than the rock foundation that Cave usually pulls from. Though that's not to say that this album is electronic, because you certainly have some nice guitar work, it's very minimal in style and is not boisterous or aggressive at all. It's perhaps even more repetitive than some of Cave's past material, sound incredibly looped/cut-and-pasted.
For me, I was pretty let down by this album. Not so much in it's style (though I kind of wish this was a more noisy record), but because I didn't find many of these songs all that engaging. I thought that the first half of the album was pretty solid, but the second half just fell flat for me. The beginning was made up of songs that were just sort of plodding (in a good way) and definitely made me think of Cave doing trip-hop, but the second half starting with Mermaids, just started to feel tedious and quite dull. Jubilee Street is the high point of this album, with the song slowly escalating in intensity throughout it's six minute running time, bringing strings, choirs, and some rather noisy guitar playing into the mix in its final minutes. It proved to be the stand out on here. The five tracks following the aforementioned track aren't so much bad, as disappointing. They're perfectly passable tracks, but not up to the Cave standard. The low point would have to be the closing title-track though, which I found incredibly boring and found myself skipping through it more often than any other song in Cave's catalog. The track just sort of meanders and doesn't go anywhere, which is a terrible way to end an album.
I wish I liked this album more than I do, but it's not horrendous enough for me not so tell fellow Cave fans to give it a listen. I think that if you're new to the man's work, you should listen to some of his early work before this one, but to longtime Cave fans, this will do just fine. Hopefully the next Bad Seeds record will be a bit more engaging.
Overall Score: 6.5
Highlights: Wide Lovely Eyes, Jubilee Street

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