Music Reviews

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds Nocturama

(Mute) Rating - 6/10

Suffering as I do from an overwhelming contempt for the public at large, starting conversations with strangers isn't easy. Somewhat inevitably, they usually start around music. Mention my tastes and I'm often told I must get into Leonard Cohen or Nick Drake. So I make a mental note to buy one of their albums along with the complete works of Nabakov and never quite get round to it.

Another of these 'grey-area' artists is Nick Cave. Now, all I know about Cave is that a) He was once in a band called the Birthday Party and b) He once 'caved' in Kylie's head with a rock (though only in song, natch). But now this situation had finally been remedied as young Nick and his band's latest set zooms into my stereo.

Going somewhat against expected form, the album opener is entitled Wonderful Life. However, the plaintive piano and that Cave croon set it on a track that continues for the initial part of the album.

It's not until the forth song, Bring It On, that affairs move into second gear. While hardcore Cave fans may eat up every note on offer before this, those less familiar may find themselves struggling to keep up attention. Bring It On, featuring Ian Dury's old band the Blockheads on backing vocals for some reason, snarls with an aggression missing earlier. Following this is Dead Man In My Bed which follows on in a similar vein before the album settles back into the more withdrawn pace of before.

But just as things look if not lost, then wandering in a state of confusion, comes the closer Babe I'm On Fire. It's over 10 minutes long and sounds like a house band in some seedy bar playing one last number before chucking out time. Funk bass, manic drumming and what sounds like an organ being pushing through a blender, it's easily the best thing on this album.

As noted before, those familiar and in love with the work of Chuckles Cave know what to expect and I imagine this is nothing less then essential for them. Those of us who have expressed caution with delving into his music before will do well to continue doing so.