After the release of the somewhat minimalist (or at least as minimalist as Nick Cave could possible be) release of ‘Push The Sky Away’, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds offer their latest album release of ‘Live from KCRW’, featuring stripped down versions of a few select tracks from the band’s back catalog, including classics such as ‘The Mercy Seat’ and ‘People Aint’ No Good’. On the record we hear Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds going for a more quieter approach on the tracks, creating a dark yet calm atmosphere that is ever so slightly worrying and haunting, yet highly enjoyable from a musical point of view. There’s a good number of enjoyable moments on ‘Live from KCRW’, with the best being the stripped down versions of some of the more stand-out Nick Cave songs.
There’s a nice selection of tracks present on ‘Live from KCRW’, with only four being from the band’s most recent release of ‘Push The Sky Away’. It’s a wonderful release from the band though, who seem to have updated their back catalog, and brought all their old songs into their ‘Push The Sky Away’ era. For those who were taken by what is arguably one of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ most beautiful records in their career, then ‘Live from KCRW’ will be a welcome addition to the collection. The album itself is essentially what one would expect from a live performance, featuring a good selection of tracks that span across the band’s career, as well as the appreciation of each song by the audience following each track’s ending. It’s the selection of songs, and the actual quality of sound on each recording that makes ‘Live from KCRW’ a very enjoyable record. Particular highlights on the album include Warren Ellis’ violin played over a stripped down version of ‘The Mercy Seat’, which sounds as though it could have been included on ‘Push The Sky Away’, as well as a wonderful guitar solo that closes the live version of ‘Mermaids’.
What might polarize certain fans is how different some of the tracks’ sound on ‘Live from KCRW’. It seems Nick Cave has gone for a smarter option of selecting songs from the previous albums that easily compliment the style of ‘Push The Sky Away’, though that hasn’t stopped him from reworking some of his more well known songs. It’s arguable that certain people might not take to the incredibly minimalist version of ‘The Mercy Seat’, which sounds absolutely nothing like the original recording in any way. The only real error though seems to be the album’s closing track ‘Jack The Ripper’, which doesn’t feature any reworking to compliment the style of the live album. Considering it follows on from the incredibly dark ‘Push The Sky Away’, the sudden urgency of ‘Jack The Ripper’ sounds a little too sudden and jarring for it to fit on the record, despite it being a great version of the song itself.
Although ‘Live from KCRW’ has an element of being just like any other live album, and features that added element of disappointment of listening to music you weren’t a part of (for most people), it still remains a great recording, as follows up as a nice addition after ‘Push The Sky Away’. Nearly everything seems to have been pulled off brilliantly, with each song sounding great on the album (as well as a few sounding better than the original album recordings). This more calmer and less urgent style of Nick Cave might not appease to everyone, but it seems it is offering some of his most rewarding work, resulting in some of the band’s best recordings. Considering the moves the band has made over the course of their career in terms of their sound and style, it will be great to see what they can manage next.
- ★★★★☆ 4/5
- Higgs Boson Blues
- The Mercy Seat
- And No More Shall We Part
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ latest album ‘Live from KCRW’ is out now.