Cave, Nick and the Bad Seeds – Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus

The latest release by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds is an ambitious double cd called Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus. The album comes in a luxurious packaging, with a nice text booklet. Because I reserved the album release early I also received the bonus cd-single ‘Nature Boy’, which is a powerful track with hit potential.

My first impression is that this release rocks quite a bit more than his most recent albums like ‘Nocturama’. At least this is the case on the first disc “Abattoir Blues”, which contains powerful uptempo rock tracks, with influences from blues rock and gospel. Striking are the female backing vocals on most tracks. Some tracks are at times a bit too hectic and dense for my moods, like the blast ‘Get ready for love’. My favourites are the aforementioned ‘Nature Boy’, the tension-building restrained ‘Messiah ward’ and the impressive swirling ‘There she goes, my beautiful world’.

The other disc, the Greek myth-inspired “Lyre of Oprheus”, is much lighter, with acoustic ballads. Here Cave gets all the room as a singer-songwriter to tell his dark twisted tales full of God and demons, love and murder. Again Cave and his Bad Seeds offer some fine tracks, like the folky lovesong ‘Breathless’, the intimate piano ballad ‘Easy money’ or the moving gospel ‘Carry Me’. A definitive new live favourite will be the energetic ‘Supernaturally’ (Hey! Ho! Oh baby / Don’t you go all supernatural on me).

Recently I saw Cave play this material on stage, and it proved that most material of Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus were especially suited for live performances. Really an impressive album, both in regard to quantity and quality. Fans will also not be disappointed by the lyrical depths. A highlight in Cave’s considerable oeuvre.

artist: Cave, Nick and the Bad Seeds
label: Mute
details: 2cd, 2004