I feel very bad (not so bad actually but it’s a kind of way to start this review). I have got to write another review for Only Angels and it’s about a band/artist I know very little about (and this is the truth). As I once said, we all have our “specialites” in the Only Angels team. As you may have noticed, I or Angus Anderson or any member of this extraordinary team will never review a Xiu Xiu record for example. This is lovely Barbara’s task. Just as I will never write about Lauren Hoffman as Angus beautifully does. And among us, Humphrey Maurice is the best to write about Nick Cave. And most of all, it’s him who introduced me to his music (watching a DVD of one of the Bad seeds’ concert). As a matter of fact, we are still waiting for his review of Nocturama but I feel like I’m stabbing him in the back. Anyway, this has to be done, and I’m gonna do it, no matter what bullshit I write...
Well as long as I have to write reviews about bands like Guitar Wolf, everything is quite fine. I mean, it’s kind of easy (and I am not trying to minimize their talent). But, Nick Cave... Hell, this is gonna be really tough...
I guess that I discovered Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds just as a lot of people did. I had never listenned to the band until I bought The Murder Balllads. And I realized how stupid I was not to have listenned to them before (wake up you jerk!). There are so much beautiful songs on this record. And maybe Kylie Minogue’s greatest one, Where the Wild Roses Grow, surely because she did not write it (this is kinda mean, after all In your eyes is a great song).
Fuck you! You have got to write about THIS record! I’m trying, I’m trying...
Let’s start by something which has got to do with music but which is not music: the artwork. Well, this record is a very beautiful item. I mean, this is a stupid statement as Nick Cave surely thinks that designing a record cover is something very important in the process of making art. But I wanted to write about that.
I don’t know what to say about the songs. I mean...they’re great, they’re terribly great. Just as any of Nick Cave & The bad Seeds’ record, it’s painful, thrilling, powerful ("There She Goes, My Beautiful World"), scary and passionate. Same style of compositions but only different (sorry Angus, this is more your kind of line). Someone (I don’t remember who it was) told me once that he liked Nick Cave because even his “love” songs must have a horrible end. Like “everythning is fine but watch out there is only one verse left and everybody is going to die in a terrible way”. Well, this may be true as far as The Murder Ballads is concerned. But this record seems to be a little bit “happier”. The song "Breathless" is simply beautiful and could illustrate that point. A springtime song, something to listen to with your lover.
On another hand, it’s not really interesting to try to guess if Nick Cave is more optimistic or happy. The record is partly called Abattoir Blues and I am not trying to understand how he feels.
I also like the fact that there is a choir on many of the songs (the London Community Gospel Choir). It gives another thrilling feeling. Something bluesy and christian like but in a kind of way I think I understand.
I’m not gonna deal with the lyrics. They’re great but everybody knows that Nick Cave is not just a writer among the songwriters.
Well I’d better stop here. This does not really make sense.
This record is great. It takes your guts out and tear them apart. It’s just simple as that.
-Horace de Tupolev
/nov 15th 2004/