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Grave, weary, solemn and resigned,
This review is from: Boatman's call (1997) (Audio CD)
This album with its metaphysical imagery contains the odd anthemic ballad like the rousing There Is A Kingdom, and intimate, subdued songs such as Into My Arms, Lime Tree Arbour and the resigned People Ain't No Good. Cave interweaves spiritual and sensual metaphor much like Leonard Cohen. On Where Do We Go Now But Nowhere? one half expects those Cohenesque female vocals to frame his deep voice but they never appear.
A highlight is the weary yet erotic Green Eyes, the first line of which is a translation of a sonnet by the medieval French poet Louise Labe. She was the first to write sonnets in French (the style originated in Italy) and was famous for her passionate style. Cave turns her love poem into a lament of epic proportions filled with equal amounts of romantic yearning and despair. Quite a tour de force and enhanced by a strategic swear word or two. The poetic effect is greatly enhanced by the vocal technique: lines are first spoken then sung, which gives it a very ritualistic flavor.
Fans of The Boatman's Call would love the work of Michael Gira's Angels of Light, especially New Mother, since it contains similar solemn ballads of great impact and gravitas.