Top positive review
85 people found this helpful
on 23 September 2004
As Nick Cave's new album appears, most people will wonder just what he's going to try next after murder and the like. Simple: mixing nature and the ghost-like. Cave's new 2CD offering comes as a breath of fresh air. Underneath its beautiful packaging is a collection of immaculate songs which are both completely engaging and exhausting as Cave takes the listener on a characteristically dramatic and mesmerising journey.
"Abattoir Blues" is a CD with perfect dynamics as he weaves the dark and melancholic with glam rock. Darker moments like the chilling narrative of "Messiah Ward", or the infective, attitude-laden strut of "Hiding All Away" show the sheer force of Cave's talents. His voice is timeless, sounding almost as if it has been around for centuries only now sharing its tales. Surrounding these songs are others like single "Nature Boy" and the energetic "There She Goes My Beautiful World" which ensure that the mood never drifts into the overly downbeat. Their Gospel Choir backing vocals are triumphant and completely engulfing. Throughout, "Abattoir Blues" is a landscape which is mysterious, glorious, dismal and beautiful all at once.
And then comes "The Lyre of Orpheus", a thick and seductive collection of songs where Cave constantly changes the atmosphere: heavy, smoky bar on "Lyre of Orpheus", then comes the fresh-sounding "Breathless" and the hazy summer of the beautiful "Babe You Turn Me On". Perhaps the album's finest moment is in the closing track "O Children", where the Gospel Choir's power is at its peak. With gorgeous piano, heartbreaking and ghostly vocals by all finished off by the sparse arrangement, it is the album at its bleakest: devastating and totally, totally breathtaking.
One of the strongest albums I've heard in years. The album manages to survive without one poor song, a rare achievement, especially for an artist with such a back catalogue. Immensely impressive album at a time where little comes close to this level of songwriting and musical composition.