Rock artists have frequently turned to the 'covers album' as a way out of an artistic corner, such as the time-honoured 'writer's block'. In Nick Cave's case, with 'Kicking...', it's more what he can bring to the song, how radically he can rework it, wringing out of (sometimes) familiar material a new interpretation, a new meaning. Although it's an uneven affair, Cave manages to turn such hoary pop fodder as his fellow Australians The Seekers' 'Carnival Is Over' into the bleakest, most desolate of songs of separation. It was he who first turned to Gene Pitney's 'Something's Gotten Hold Of my Heart', several years before Marc Almond (who was, and presumably still is, a friend of Cave's), and cut through to the heart of a song of quite achingly heartfelt yearning. It's a theme that is a constant in his work, as his latest recording, 'The Secret Life of The Love Song' explores both in spoken word and some judiciously-chosen items from his back catalogue. Elsewhere, Jim Webb's 'By The Time I Get To Phoenix' is turned inside out in inimitable Cave style, with the Bad Seeds showing commendable restraint throughout. 'Kicking Against The Pricks' proved to be both artistically and commercially successful, and helped Cave break out once and for all from the Goth shadows that his previous band, the Birthday Party, had been painted into by the Music Press. A fine work, but one which he would go on to better with future Bad Seeds albums.