76 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on 18 February 2013
This has been a much-anticipated album for many people, myself included. The Grinderman project Nick Cave has been working on has been far louder than the recent Bad Seeds albums, and there were rumours that this album would be a good deal quieter than previous Bad Seeds offerings. The release of the first track - We No Who U R - seemed to indicate that was indeed the case. But would it still be a Nick Cave album as we know and love them?
This is a highly introspective album, and seems to come from a different place than the last Bad Seeds outing "Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!" from 2008. It certainly is a good deal quieter in that there are no clearly identifiable rock tracks, but it is definitely a Nick Cave album. The melancholy comes through in every track, and Nick's voice is as mournful as ever. I hate to draw comparisons with other artists, but it does remind me in tone of the classic Scott Walker albums - the same poetry, the same swooping arrangements, the same truly heart-felt emotion which comes over through the speakers. Comparisons aside however, this seems to me an album in which Nick has the same passion for what he does, but does it in a much calmer way.
It will put some fans off, I know, and it will certainly divide the music press. It's not what we've heard from Nick in a while - perhaps elements of The Boatman's Call - and some people will think this is a bad thing, but it is for me one of the most lovely things I have heard for some time. Standout tracks are Higgs Boson Blues, Water's Edge, and Jubilee Street (especially Jubilee Street - truly a wonderful song), and the whole thing is just a brilliant collection - play it through headphones without distractions, and just listen intently to what is passing into your ears. It's almost 2am, I've played it twice, and I can't wait to play it again.
I don't know whether Nick Cave is in a different emotional place than he was five years ago. If this album is anything to go by, I feel confident that no matter where he goes or what he does next he is still on top form, and producing music that I will listen to again and again.
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
Nick Cave has always been about wild contrasts. Recall that after the brutal "Murder Ballads" came the most beautiful Bad Seeds record, the gorgeously meditative "Boatman's Call". Setting aside the naked aggression of the Grinderman records, the Bad Seeds last full album was 2008's electrifying whacked out blues of "Dig Lazarus Dig" so there is a quiet inevitably that the great man will take a tangential turn. Coming in the shape of the 15th studio album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, "Push the sky away" sees him return with a melancholy beast that is contemplative and measured. This is not the fiery Nick Cave but the one who reflects on the human condition and uses the sea as a metaphor for a cast of subjects leading to the production of a stunning album which is as quietly powerful has any thing they have done to date.
The departure of Mick Harvey has impacted and into the vacuum he has left steps Cave's soundtrack collaborator Warren Ellis, whose slow instrumentation and ghostly keyboard parts establish an ominous often soured mood. The nine songs here range from the gently rolling "We no who U R" which oozes a sultry almost Portishead style atmosphere to the albums absolute standout of the near eight minute "Higgs Boson Blues" so wasted it could have be happily located within the grooves of Neil Young's "On the Beach". It's a burningly strung out powerhouse saga that name checks an eclectic list that includes Robert Johnson, the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King was shot in Memphis, Hannah Montana and Milly Cyrus. When at one point Cave sings "Well here comes Lucifer/With his canon law, And a hundred black babies runnin' from his genocidal jaw/He got the real killer groove" it is almost scary. In between there are great songs like "Wide lovely eyes" with its scratchy guitar backdrop and ocean motifs witness Cave heading "Down the tunnel that leads to the sea/Step on the beach beneath the iron skies". The threatening "Waters Edge" continues the aquatic theme as Cave watches the mating game of young local boys with the "thrill of love" for the girls from "the capital". Yet all that Cave can do is ruefully reflect that "But you grow old and you grow cold"." Jubilee Street" is perhaps the most superficially conventional song in the set, yet its lyrics tell a harsh tale of a red light district where Cave throws out brilliant images of a man who states that "I am alone now, I am beyond recriminations" as the song builds to a huge conclusion. The waves returns with "Mermaids" a superb haunting ballad and one of the most gorgeous things that Cage has committed to vinyl. This is juxtaposed by the talking dark blues of "We are cool" with its pulsating bass line, and the return of an earlier theme in the rather odd "Finishing Jubilee Street" where Cave reflects on the experience of writing the previous song. The album is capped by the undiluted beauty of the almost church like title track, a dark hymn where Cave reflects and painfully questions what "If you're feeling/You've got everything you came for/If you got everything /And you don't want no more".
Cave is now one of the great modern renaissance men. His ventures into films, books, writing and music are all defined by a vision, which is deeply intriguing, and utterly compelling. In "Push the sky away" he has recorded one of his best albums since "Boatmen's Call". It begs the question whether it is the best album of 2013 thus far? And the answer is that there is no contest.
39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on 23 February 2013
I know there are a lot of lifelong Nick Cave fans giving mixed reviews on here and in that respect I must be impartial. I have 'dabbled' with his music since 'Let Love In' came out and have been blown away by many of his tunes but never a full LP. So I write this review as a fan of music in general. I like all types of music regardless of genre...if the music is good then don't put a label on it, great music is great music. Which brings me to 'Push The Sky Away'...I heard Nick Cave had a new album out and thought I'd give it a go. To be honest I have just been waiting for the new Bowie album and was passing the time giving it a listen. I tried 'Jubilee Street' first which blew me away so streamed the LP. I kept returning to 'Jubilee Street' because it haunted me. After listening to the album in full I placed my order for the vinyl and since then it has been on heavy rotation. Not only (mark my words) will this be the album of 2013 at the end of year polls but it is simply one of the best albums I have ever heard by Nick Cave or anybody. Remember, I have never been a huge Nick Cave fan, but now in 2013 I am returning to his back catalogue on the strength of this album alone. A STONE COLD CLASSIC!!!!!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 13 March 2013
Album number 15 for the band and nearly five years from the fantastic Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! With the Grinderman side project taking up some time for the members of the Bad Seeds as well as some work on the Lawless soundtrack it is time to get back to the main project.
This album is a years worth or writing by the band with Cave gathering influences form such diverse places as Wikipedia and simply Google searching. The lyrics were written into a notebook that Cave kept. All ideas came from Cave and handing these over to the band the resulting music is made. A simple and effective way to make an album.
Album opener "We No Who 'U 'R" takes you to a comfortable Seeds style. The song title does suggest some darkening moods and it is obvious from the start of the song. Fading out into "Wide Lovely Eyes" there are very little instruments on this track just piano and what seems to be muted guitar or some other stringed instrument. The song reminds me of looking at old photographs and revisiting where they were taken.
Finding some influence from Grinderman in track three "Water's Edge" simply has some viola but the first trace of a melody and minimal you look forward to it so much you miss it. Cave sounds like he has his notebook right there and is taking lyrics at random. Not so much from different songs but in another order. "Jubilee Street" has been heard before by me and it is a great song. But it was a little puzzling back then, now it fits in so well. The music now flows happily with textures taking on a near Swans style. Melody comes back in here and it is repetitive but that is where when first listening you see why it is track four now. Going onto a more epic style of ending it is classic Seeds.
"Mermaids" is the first real acoustic feeling song, containing some odd lyrics it feels like Cave is having some fun. And why not. If you like blues then you have an idea how this song goes. Back to the piano for "We Real Cool" lyrics that question the bands or even the singers age and weather they are cool. They lyric "Wikipedia is heaven, when you don't wanna to remember no more" shows who IS cool and those who take the easy way to get info may have it easy but they may not be cool doing so.
Psychedelic sounding "Higgs Boson Blues" seems quite chaotic in lyrical content but the music takes you back to the 60s. The song is one of the highlights and the longest song here. Again back to the lyrics it is obvious they may not have any real link to each other in the same song but it fits the album perfectly. Historical ramblings and car travels seem placed in a black and white photo.
Ending title track feels like a movie on its own. Dream sequences form the whole film. It is a very slow track that repeats the lyric "keep on pushing". A fitting ending that fades away to the disbelieving that the album is over so quick. Only 42 minutes long but it is one of the finest 42 minutes you may hear this year. And in the 30 years of the Bad Seeds it is a stand out album. Most music is build all around the normal band set up of drums, bass and guitar. This is a refreshing listen that makes the listener want more. Each song is crafted beautifully and shows the skills of the entire band.
To get to this amount of albums and to have given us the quality they have done in the past it is easy just to do it all again. But no I think the side projects have helped and with them doing so well commercially it has got the band on an more even level.
With the side projects and Nick Cave carving out a fantastic writing career I think the band have been given a fantastic chance to create something that no rule book would have let be done. Simply stunning!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 23 March 2013
Firstly the package is great . Nick cave out on his own, away from Mute for the first time comes up with a superb ltd edition version ( hard back book a5 size with cd album and dvd featuring needle boy & lightning bolts ..not on the audio disc...better than many of the major label stuff .
the album, more importantly, is a wonderful collection of songs kicking off with we no who ur a very simple introduction with nicks vocals being shadowed by martha skye murphy to great effect over a repetitive beat and warren ellis flute ..very smooth ..waters edge has more of an edge to it with its warning of 'local boys ' whereas its predecessor wide lovely eyes is more a melodic ballad " your dress sighs with your wide lovely stride". Lush strings are peppered throughout this album none more so in the ascending jubilee street.mermaids has one of the most enchanting chorus lines once gain melody is king here . we real cool has martyn caseys rumbling bass with caves vocals recited a top with piano and strings fleshing out the song majestically.finishing jubilee street is a curiosity which is a song about nick finishing the earlier track and a recital about a dream that ensued features barry adamson on bass.Higgs bosun blues is the epic of the pack at 7.51 and utterly delightful every second of it ..the final track is the hauntingly beautiful title. Needle boy is much more abrasive .. at the time of writing there are 50 reviews of this album of which 42 are awarded 4/5 stars.. this is a great album and i dont think im being hysterical ..i just really like it .
Whilst cave remains edgy and deep , its almost like an introduction to nick cave and the bad seeds if you never owned one of his albums. ive played this to friends who've not got nick cave albums and they have loved it
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 17 March 2013
I bought my first Nick Cave CD(Greatest Hits) after hearing Where The Wild Roses Grow with Kylie Minogue, and I wasn't disappointed. I then went on to buy Let Love In, Dig Lazorous Dig and The Lyre of Orpheus, all were good but to me not brillaint. Late last year I bought Murder Ballads, absolutely fantastic, dark but brilliant. Then a few weeks ago I ordered Push The Sky Away, and waited with anticipation, would I like it, would it be as good as some of the reviews, and more importantly would it get played regularly, occassionally or just put in the drawer.
The day of reckoning came, opened it with great expectations, in the cd player and then WHAM!! what an absoutely fantastic collection of music and songs, would I play it again? it hasn't been off yet!
From beginning to end you will not be disappointed, so much so that I have bought a ticket to his October concert after listening to this album alone.
The more I listen to the whole album the better it gets, every song plays its part in this perfect collection, the lyrics are superb, the music hauntingly fantastic, overall by far the BEST CD of this year.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 26 March 2013
Reflective, intense, majestic and mythical, yet prosaic,up-close and personal, PTSA cements Mr Cave's reputation as an elegant man of letters long resident on England's south coast and it has the fishy smell of Brighton & Hove all over it. Sensitively underplayed and surprisingly scored throughout, it's overall impression is of a lone, though not entirely lonely, figure loping along the detritus littered shore of an ink-black ocean. The opening track, 'We Know Who UR', will sneak up on you and follow you around for days, 'Wide Blue Eyes' is a classic folk song over an insistent itch-scratch guitar that drips with grateful love and if you don't get a shiver down your spine during the 'Higgs Boson Blues' just after Hannah Montana, surprisingly, 'moves on to Amazonia and cries with the dolphins' you might want to get someone to check your pulse. Essential.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 22 February 2013
With each listen, I increasing come to the conclusion that this is a minor masterpiece!
There are far better individual Bad Seeds songs on other albums, but as a cohesive album this works beautifully.
Adjectives such as ambient, liquid, minimalist and haunting are all perfectly correct. The whole is far greater than the sum of the parts.
A Brighton based pastoral concept album.
To quote one title track: it is Real Cool!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 24 February 2013
This is a brilliantly recorded album and I would consider this to be the best one I have heard recently.It is completely different to Dig,Lazarus Dig which was a more upbeat driving CD.This one is very different---sheer quality.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 February 2013
topping each previous release is already a regular occurrence for nick cave, but this time even my high expectations were blown out the water. this album is as close to perfect as any i have ever heard, a master craftsman at the top of his game backed by a unit whose playing almost defies humanity. the greatest achievement of nick cave, as a songwriter, is his ability to produce music that is completely original, but still 'doffs the cap' to certain influences. i can imagine, for instance, leonard cohen singing 'wide lovely eyes' and 'water's edge'. quality just drips out of every element of this record, and at the moment can't see how he will top it next release (but he probably will). certain self-regardimg 'songwriters' (u no who u r), should be herded together to listen to this, and to do the decent thing - quit. quite simply, masterful.