In 2001, it seemed like time was up for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. After the end of his relationship with PJ Harvey, and his break-up album, the fractured yet beautiful Boatman's Call, a 'Best of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' emerged in 1999. Usually the seal on one's career, to most it signified the end of the Seeds as we knew them.
Two years on, No More Shall We Part emerged. Not only did it show Nick Cave's return after four years of relative silence, it also showed him slowly returning to the louder sound of his earlier works, which would continue over his next two studio albums. Weighing in at 68 minutes, every song here is a long one; and every song here is worth it.
The quieter ballads here are among Nick Cave's greatest. The eight-minute epic that is 'Hallelujah' is a hallucinatory, hymnal, tearful journey that would've made Bob Dylan proud as it swells to its majestic ending. 'God Is In The House' is a whispery, vaguely hilarious conflab that remains in his solo sets to this day, and 'Love Letter' is arguably his sweetest song to date.
The real attraction here, though, is the louder moments, signifying the slow return to the Nick Cave of old. 'Oh My Lord,' arguably the best song here, is like 'Hallelujah's evil twin, a slong, building epic characterised by Warren Ellis' scratchy violin. 'The Sorrowful Wife,' meanwhile, blindsides you when it explodes into a thunderous racket a few minutes in.
Overall, eleven albums it, it certainly was a fine showing. Yet again, Nick Cave pulled out a winner against all odds.