on 31 December 2003
There’s none of the brash explosive violence of early Cave here, this is as polished as it gets... not that that is a criticism you understand. No, this is an epic in every sense of the word.
Here, Cave draws on the principal preoccupations that he is most synonymous with - love, death, drugs, madness, murder and religion being amongst the more obvious - and creates a work of intense, cathartic beauty. Even the flowers on the cover give us a suggestion of the way ahead, giving us a new Nick no longer Kicking Against the Pricks but instead, almost wilting in the sense of autumnal melancholy that marks out many of these songs.
Here it is the mournful string arrangements of Warren Ellis and Mick Harvey that really set the scene for Nick’s most touchingly operatic work... an album that speaks in bursts of poetic beauty whilst unfolding with the kind of surreal detachment usually reserved for dreamscapes and early Van Morrison. I suppose that’s the fairest summation. If the earlier Boatman’s Call was Nick’s Blood on the Tracks then surely this is his Astral Weeks... a collection of intensely beautiful songs that suffocate the listener with their languid pace and lyrical grace.
There’s simply no stand out here. As with the majority of Nick’s output, the record unfolds naturally... each songs is as important as the one that preceded it, building up to a moody crescendo around track seven, which is then sustained till the very last. Here Nick croons along in true balladeer mode, whilst the ever-excellent Bad Seeds create haunting landscapes of music that complement Cave’s blend of gospel poetry perfectly. We also see the vocal addition of Kate and Anna McGarrigle, who bring their idiosyncratic blend of gothic folk to a number of tracks, most notably, Hallelujah.
This is a wonderful work, more mature and certainly more personal than some of Cave’s earlier output. True, some of the songs lack the emotional resonance of say, The Good Son or the darkly comic intensity of the haunting Murder Ballads, but in it’s own right, this is simply spectacular. No More Shall We Part... definitely one for lovers of intimate lyrical confessionals packed with musical perfection. 5/5
on 19 May 2001
I feel I've now listened to this album enough since it's release to be able to adequately review it - as akin to all Nick Cave albums it takes a while to firmly embed itself under ones skin and even longer to claw it's way up the cerebral cortex.
The album begins with the quietly strummed guitar and lilting piano of the first few bars of "As I sat sadly by her side", the first single, which would seem to indicate that this album is going to become "The Boatman's Call Part II". However, as we move on it becomes apparent that this is not entirely the case.
The third track "Hallelujah" exhibits a lush musical backdrop far less spartan than anything found on the previous album and is one of the highlights of this one. From this track in, the songs are more musically complex and often louder than the previous work. It's not however until we reach "Oh my Lord" that the Bad Seeds really let rip. This song appears to be in part Cave's response to his detractors who claim he's gone a bit "soft" of late, the loud orchestration easily matching the anger of any of the pseudo-punk on "Henry's Dream" with a suitably vitriolic lyric.
Nick Cave has always been able to turn lyrical cartwheels and this album is no exception. It's the oh-so-easy mix of the sublime, mundane, ridiculous, dramatic and tragic imagery that's so moving - but I'll refrain from quoting any because I suspect that out of context it'll all seem a bit silly.
But if you fancy an album of brown cows, white kittens, lady mayors, absent nurses, buried hatchets, snarling pianos, love letters, white churches, plastic antlers, garden gates and smoking guns - go buy this one. You won't regret it!
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.
on 29 May 2001
I first saw Nick and the Seeds on Jools Holland, where their track "God is in the House" stood out for me. I played it over and over again, and the music and intruiging lyrics just kept getting better and more meaningful on each listen. On the strength of that one song, I decided to get the No More Shall We Part album, and it's been on my CD player constantly since I got it. It's the feel of the music and the lyrical content that makes this album, and indeed other Cave albums. After listening to 3 tracks on the album, namely "God is in the House", the title track "And No More Shall We Part" and "Hallelujah", it became apparent to me that this guy was a genius. The haunting harmonies send shivers down my spine, and the lyrics make me laugh and (almost) cry at the same time.
I'm a musician myself, and to be able to listen to something as different and special as this album is so refreshing. I intend to purchase the whole of the Nick Cave back catalogue.
But be warned, this isn't for the light-hearted. Anyone who thinks Cliff Richard or Steps are talented, maybe you should just stay clear. Do not insult Mr. Cave with your comments of "it's too morbid and sorrowful and boring". If you think that, then you've missed the whole point of the album. Look deeper, and you'll find something quite beautiful.
on 28 December 2001
As one of those odd creatures who looks forward to each Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds release with excitement, this is just another in a long line where disappointment isn't even considered. While "Murder Ballads" wasn't all it could be (still a solid 4-star record) this is Cave at his passionate best.
And Passion is the key word here. Few bands or artists today can bear comparison. Perhaps only Tindersticks and Kristin Hersh could stand at Cave's shoulder when it comes to making records that wear the heart on the sleeve and drown the listener in a mix of tears and sadness, joy and hope, loss and anger.
"No More Shall We Part" is Cave's most accomplished record to date. With the Bad Seeds taking a front-seat role again after a part-time job on "The Boatman's Call", it's the aching violin and firey rythms that push this record along.
There are moment's of intimacy as on "The Boatman's Call" coupled with the fire and brimstone angst of "Henry's Dream". Anyone familiar with Cave's extensive back-catalogue will find reference points to many of his records here. "Hallelujah" and "Love Letter" are both stirring and gorgeous. "God is in the House" is perhaps the core song on the album with a wonderfully biting vocal and lyric.
Of the 12 tracks here none is a disappointment and several tracks are as special as anything in Cave's previous albums. Alongside Low's "Things We Lost In The Fire" and Tindersticks' "Can Our Love", this is the record of 2001.
on 6 April 2001
After the sparse, simple beauty of his more recent, it seemed unlikely that Cave would be able to produce another album of the same quality without starting to stagnate, but the Nick Cave on this album has somehow changed yet remained the same. Although the lyrics are still full of his usual concerns - death, love, sadness, God-but-not-religious - he doesn't descend into the maudlin that Cohen sometimes does. Rather, the songs on this album, by and large, read like the works of an accomplished poet, and are accompanied by something newer, the quietly melodic female vocal which emerges subtly from time to time. Songs like 'As I Sat Sadly By Her Side' and 'Gates to the Garden' open up like flowers, revealing layers of intricate detail and neat images of conversations and scenarios, and a deity who might watch us but does not necessarily watch over us. "God does not care for your benevolence any more than he cares for the lack of it in others", says Cave, and, "Let the saints attend to the keeping of the cathedrals".
In 'And No More Shall We Part', 'Sweetheart Come' and 'Love Letter' Cave's talent for balancing a simple love song with an edge of sadness echoes the simplicity of earlier songs like 'The Ship Song'. There is an odd kind of optimism here: Cave shows he's not all gloom and doom, he just likes to be that way. That's not to say that his dark side isn't here - 'Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow', 'Oh My Lord' and 'The Sorrowful Wife' tread the edge of depression and mental chaos, yet when he actually puts on the dressing gown of the patient in 'Halleluja', he is almost laughing at himself. "I passed a cow and the cow was brown/And my pyjamas clung to me like a shroud", he says. But this is not a man held down by melancholy, this is the enfant terrible of the early Cave still laying bare the bones of small-town Christianity, with 'God is in the House' arguably the triumph of this album, a song he clearly enjoys performing - "We have a pretty little square/We have a woman for a mayor/Our policy is firm but fair" tumbles cynically down from the centre of the song like a house of cards.
If one single image remains constant in Cave's material, it is a sense of inevitability about the world and our place in it. He knows he is too preoccupied from time to time with death and religion - right at the start of the album, his companion is telling him "God has given you but one heart/You are not a home for the hearts of your brothers" - but by the time 'We Came Along This Road' makes an appearance, he's happy to stand at the side and watch the movie play out in front of him. 'I don't know what I was hoping for', he explains, 'I hit the road at a run'.
Cave makes his exit in a superb piece of self-indulgence - 'Darker by the Day' is a wonderfully laid-back self-portrait of a man who will never be happy to just sit and watch, instead preferring to 'search, in and out, above, about, below', 'Full of a longing for something I do not know'. Long may he continue to search, unearthing dark jewels of songs like these, on what is one of his greatest albums to date, and undoubtedly the finest album by any artist in the last couple of years.
on 12 November 2002
I will keep it brief, simply because if I did not, I would be in danger of exceeding my word limit. This album, now over a year old, has become one of my favourites of all time. It is, in my opinion, leagues ahead of Cave's previous work in its intelligence, musical craft and sheer beauty. The opening track still manages to send shivers down my spine as the narrator tears apart the romantic formula of his wife in dramatic style, Love Letter shocks with its haunting beauty and God Is In The House is an extraordinary analysis of small town America. But it is wrong to single out tracks, because this album must be regarded as a whole. From start to finish it is astounding, mesmerizing and captivating. If you do not own this album, you are wrong.
Click on 'Add to Shopping Basket' and put yourself right.
on 4 April 2001
Right from the outset, with the superb opening track "As I Sat Sadly By Her Side", the listener is absorbed into the deep, dark, rich, occasionally chilling but always inspiring world of Wangaratta's finest son, Mr Nick Cave - the vessel for surely the truest and most enduring artistic vision in contemporary music.
Despite his growing fame, success and (dare I say it) acceptance, Nick Cave is still possessed of the same forces that inspired such brilliant albums as "The Good Son" and "Henry's Dream", and in many ways has honed these to a greater precision in this, his latest album.
"Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow" is Cave at his raving-preacher best, while "Love Letter" will play your heartstrings with the dexterity and poignance of Bad Seeds violinist Warren Ellis. "God is in the House" is the highlight, showing Cave's much underrated comic side.
The first must-have of 2001.
There is no doubting that Nick Cave has become more mellow in recent years and yet his genius and sheer talent continues to surpass all his contempories. "No more shall we part" is a fine album and should be played to all pretenders to Nick's throne.
No one can sing a love song quite like Nick. It's not even fair to call what he sings love songs. When he sings you feel everything he does, and he makes you debate the eternity, futility, joy and darkness of loving someone. "Love letter", "No more shall we part" and "Sweetheart come" are great examples of this and remind you of "into my arms" amongst others.
The melodicity of this album will stay in your head for days, with songs like "Halleluah" and "fifteen feet of pure white snow". My favourite however, has to be "God is in the House", a softly sung song about a hypocritical little town where "all the kittens are painted white/so that we can see them in the night"
I've had this album for over a year now, and went to the concert tour for this album, and it still remains one of my most listened to CD's. I'm eagerly awaiting his new release, but until then, I'll still be listening to this album.
on 5 February 2005
I'll try to avoid hyperbole in this mini review. This was the first Nick Cave album I listened to after hearing some songs of his, and I've been hooked on Cave since. The highlights on this album (for me, at least) are As I Sat Sadly by Her Side and God is in the House; the lyrics really striking a chord with me. I find that this album hypnotises me with the string arrangements and simple yet beautiful piano playing. Actually that pretty much entirely sums up the genius of this album- it doesn't try to impress on a technical aspect; there is nothing overly spectacular about the melodies, yet they are performed with such passion and the lyrics sung with such sad honesty that you can't help but sit up and take notice. I don't know, you just have to experience it for yourself.
Buy it, you _will not_ regret doing so.