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The Boatman's Dream (and then some...)
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!