ARTIST BINGE #1 : NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS, PART. 11
Touched by grace. This is the first thing you can observe about this contemplative musical beauty. On "No More Shall We Part", Nick Cave delivers a final praise that we feel composed by a man alone at the piano. His previous ballads have destabilized his most rock'n' roll audience, the Bad Seeds' response will be a funeral orchestration that will silence the detractors. A disc from which oozes an indescribable candor; but which contains a darkness that hides our crooner.
It all starts with "As I Sat Sadly By Her Side". A sublime ode to this feeling of universal sadness that everyone is confronted with at one time or another. Cave knows it: men don't care about who cries, who suffers. He concentrates the suffering of the whole world in a painful introduction. If the envelope of this album can look like "The Good Son" or "The Boatman's Call" by its slow pace and acoustic atmospheres, there is no inner softness. Cave writes its most mystical songs. On "Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow", he summons the energies of gospel music on a metallic bass. "No More Shall We Part" is a final point addressed to all the challenges he has faced. The disc would almost become a quest, or a pilgrimage. He sings higher than ever, as if the height of his music could no longer suffer.
As if to justify their praise, the Bad Seeds are further enriched by the melody: Warren Ellis' violin has now become indispensable, and once mixed with the sweet voices of the McGarrigle sisters, the choir gathers for a gorgeous Christian "Hallelujah". The harmonic construction of "No More Shall We Part" seems so easy, so obvious, we are still looking for a piano line that does not immediately sink into torpor. Perhaps, the exception is "God Is In the House", cute parody of the hilarious text describing the dull daily life of a US city. Cave, which has always been haunted by the Western and cabaret fantasies inspired by the United States, now takes all this in retrospect... even it no longer affects him. He has matured.
And it's when you barely start to fall asleep under the caress of the piano of "The Sorrowful Wife", that saturation returns, in a rage that we had finally forgotten since "Murder Ballads"... Cave has always appreciated being where we didn't expect him, and his album gathered so much unjustified violence that he had to redeem himself. And to whom should we ask forgiveness if not from God? And how can we not forgive everything in the face of the mysticism and piety of "Oh My Lord" or "Hallelujah"? "Oh My Lord" is a magnificent summary of the album: both of a density and a surprising ease of access. And even the little mistakes of "Sweetheart Come" doesn't manage to ruin what is probably one of the most coherent and successful Cave and Bad Seeds albums.
The fearful who wish to open themselves to the inner darkness will find a fascinating initiation there; the violent will understand that pain can also be silent; and even lovers of sweet melodies will only have to avoid trying to understand what the songs say. This would still be a shame because "No More Shall We Part" is a very rare irrefutable initiatory trip.
Best tracks: "As I Sat Sadly By Her Side", "Oh My Lord", "Hallelujah", "Fifteen Feet Of Pure White Snow", "And No More Shall We Part", "Love Letter", "The Sorrowful Wife", "Darker With The Day".
Worst track: "God Is In The House"