Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds' 'Push The Sky Away': New Music Tuesday

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"We No Who U R," unfortunate title and all, kicks off this latest outing in elegantly sublime style. Released today, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds' first album in four years is a budding spring afternoon right when we need it most.

As the album grows, it maintains a very minimalistic attitude. But the band boasts seven musicians, all creating a deep, image-laden atmosphere. During "Water's Edge," the listener can almost feel the slow-moving train cars drift along ancient tracks as Cave's smoky vocals enshroud the locomotive. It's relaxing, with just a hint of chaos and dissonance. The music concisely frames the band's noted achievements over its 30-year span and distills that very essence into a tight album.

"Mermaids" features some delightfully spacey guitar work, right in the middle of the album's self-aware suite "Jubilee Street" > "Mermaids" > "We Real Cool" > "Finishing Jubilee Street"... which is a terrific mid-album excursion.

Indeed, following the faith-based trip in "Mermaids," "We Real Cool" returns to the band's gravelly sweet spot. Even at the heaviest points of the album, like in this tune, the music never seems to rise above a whisper. "Finishing Jubilee Street" may be the coolest cut on the album, with jangling instruments dancing and Cave's narration wrapping up a story that needs its conclusion.

Album closer "Push The Sky Away" ties the bow on the ethereal quality on display throughout the previous eight tracks. It's a soft whirlwind dip into reflection and individualization. Calming and chilling, like much of Cave's catalog, this album is a great diversion from the Cleveland winter blues.



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