Push The Sky Away – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

The highly anticipated 15th studio album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds is the follow-up album to their 2008 album ‘Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!’, which was a highly enjoyable raucous rock album that grooved its way in and out of upbeat and downbeat tracks. It was a great album that followed up one of their best efforts, their 2004 double-album ‘Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus’, which was also a rock album that had it’s quieter moments. So with these two albums in mind, I find it interesting the direction that Nick Cave has taken with ‘Push The Sky Away’.

‘Push The Sky Away’ could be seen as a departure from the sound that Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds have established in their long career. But even amongst all the rock albums that Nick Cave has pushed out, there have been moments where everything has been played down, and become quite relaxed in tone. What’s happened on ‘Push The Sky Away’ is that the entire album is downplayed, which could be seen as a first for Nick Cave. Perhaps this is a risky move, as their upbeat rock songs have always been one of their strengths. However, I feel that Nick Cave has actually outdone himself with this album, and produced arguably what is one of his best albums so far in his career.

Yes, the album is quieter, almost ambient at times. However, it just works on this album. Everything that Nick Cave has attempted on this album, he has just done right. The album begins with the gentle track ‘We No Who U R’, and from there it goes from track to track, never once getting too loud, and never once going too quiet. The instrumentals on this album are much more sparse than the previous albums, but all this does is add emphasis on Nick Cave’s lyrics, which I feel are some of the best he has written so far. There is a wonderful poetry in the lyrics, which has always been one of Nick Cave’s greatest strengths as a writer. Even though the instrumentals are more sparse on this album, and have less emphasis than on the previous albums, they are still enjoyable at times. ‘We Real Cool’ features some of Warren Ellis’ best and most gorgeous violin playing since the soundtrack albums he has worked on with Nick Cave. ‘Higgs Boson Blues’ is pushed along by the simplest but highly effective of guitar riffs, which when accompanied with Nick Cave’s lyrics, just makes for one of their best songs in a long while.

I feel that ‘Push The Sky Away’ isn’t the best of Nick Cave’s albums at times. But at the same time, I do also feel that it is one of their strongest. It can appear quite sombre and sad at times, but this just makes me believe that Nick Cave has just effectively managed to write music with some great emotion in it. So overall, I feel that this is ‘one’ of the best albums that Nick Cave has produced. It’s just an album where everything just works on the album. It may not be to everybody’s liking, and perhaps this album might alienate some of the more hardcore of Nick Cave fans. But for myself, I feel that this is a great album, and one that Nick Cave can surely be proud of.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★★  5/5

Selected Songs:

  • Mermaids
  • We Real Cool
  • Higgs Boson Blues
  • Push The Sky Away
Categories: 5-Star Reviews, Albums, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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