Music Reviews
Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus

(Anti / Epitaph) Rating - 7/10

Double albums, don't you just love 'em? Well, no actually; usually they are bloated and self-indulgent piles of dross, sprinkled with proper songs and some full ideas. Nick Cave enters the arena of ill-advised scope with his usual mix of gothic pomposity and lyrical and ivory tinkling beauty. Abattoir Blues is supposedly the more raucous half of the double effort and it certainly stamps its foot with a huge thud. Cave roars, "Get ready for love" and what a great opening it is, with a celebratory gospel backing emphasizing Cave's wonderfully wordy delivery. The rest of Abattoir Blues is a steady mix of menacing intent and barely concealed apocalyptic revelry; good to see he still has his atom bomb sneer intact.

Second disc The Lyre of Orpheus is predominantly the quieter of the two and has a more cohesive quality, akin to Boatman's Call era Cave and so pips the first disc in the class and effect stakes. The gospel choir backing is used to great effect on the last two tracks Carry Me and O Children, with a heightened sense of creativity and an artist at the height of his powers.

Lyrically the album has its moments of absurdly pretty profundity, such as on the glorious Nature Boy, where his father tells him to watch the "routine atrocity" of a news report, because "in the end it is beauty/That is going to save the world". Hope amongst chaos; is our black hero cracking an optimistic smile? There are the odd duff, throwaway musical and lyrical moments, where it doesn't quite hit the mark, but this is a double after all and obviously doesn't work as a whole, but you were warned.

Cave is apparently living a life of suburban contentment nowadays, so is this an exception to the rule of the tortured artist, because over the last few years, as he has seemed to inhabit a more or less settled routine his musical output has become more prolific and absurdly beautiful. Here's to kids and school runs, if this is what it does for you.