Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
Push The Sky Away


4.0
excellent

Review

by Michael Snoxall USER (47 Reviews)
February 8th, 2013 | 155 replies


Release Date: 02/18/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "And some people say it's just rock n' roll, but it gets you right down to your soul."

It’s been four years since Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ last album, Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!, and the main man himself has since been hard at work. Composing several soundtracks, touring with the Bad Seeds, touring with Grinderman, writing screenplays, publishing a novel, releasing a sophomore album with Grinderman-- he has no doubt been a man who is hard to pin down; always busy with his passions. Returning to the studio to record his fifteenth album with the Bad Seeds, it’s obvious that Nick Cave isn’t slowing down any time soon. Consistently working on his art since the late 70s, not having taken any hiatuses in between album releases with his early post-punk bands The Boys Next Door and The Birthday Party through to his long-lasting career as Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, the drug fueled early decades of his career through to his time settling down and kicking his habits, it’s admirable how consistent and driven Cave is. But there is one major difference here: Push the Sky Away is the first Bad Seeds album without long-time band member/musical collaborator Mick Harvey. While it’s evident that Harvey has always been an integral part of the band’s sound, it’s never quite certain where the band will head next. With Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! being a more Grinderman influenced type of garage rock album compared to his earlier work, it has never been foreseeable as to where Cave will take his music. Nick Cave, the Enigma and co. have once again brought forth an album that re-invents their sound and sits proudly in the wake of their prior classics.

Push the Sky Away is perhaps the band’s most unique record to date, all the songs focusing largely on minimalism and repetition; the precise execution of the music slips by the listener as it takes several dedicated listens to dissect all its nuances. On first listen, one would never guess that the band boasts seven multi-instrumentalists in its line-up. And in conjunction with Cave’s style of either creating incredibly bleak or upbeat compositions, Push the Sky Away falls into the former. The overall sound of the record brings some of Cave’s most impressive vocal work, which fits in sorrowfully with the downcast projections of the music. Though usually famed for his dark and even at times disturbing song-writing, Cave is in a more poignant frame of creation here, whilst still maintaining his adept blend of storytelling and vocal expression.

It’s no secret that, much more over the last two decades, Nick Cave is a very sexual man. His lyrics more often than not ooze of sexual imagery and fantasy when he isn’t singing of death (actually, even when he’s singing of death), and 2013 hasn’t proved any different (in fact the album cover features Mr. Cave illuminating his naked wife, Susie Bick). This album is once more a hot spot for Cave’s undeniably unabashed sex-ridden tales, and while at times they work, at other times they’re not so elegantly implemented. The song ‘Mermaids’ featuring some poorly written lines at the beginning of the song, it’s hard to take Cave seriously as he sings, “she was a catch/and we were a match/I was the match that would fire up her snatch/there was a catch/I was no match/I was fired from her crotch/I sit around and watch.” Though this is countered by some more well-constructed moments, the song ‘Water’s Edge’ featuring some of his most engaging lyricism, “they take apart their bodies like toys for the local boys/because they’re always there at the edge of the water/they come from the capital/these city girls go down where the stones meet the sea.” When he isn’t sexualising his lyrics, he occasionally sings of Internet culture, Wikipedia and even makes references to pop-culture figures like Hannah Montana. This is new territory and at first sounds a little awkward, but overall the small and edgy lyrics that may bother some are not a large detriment to the album and the diverse range of subject matters throughout all nine songs will strike a chord with a listener at some point.

As mentioned prior, Push the Sky Away is an album based around repetition; nowhere in sight are the immediately complex and ever-shifting compositions found on albums like Let Love In or No More Shall We Part. All songs found here feature a single riff or melody that will embody the pace of each song, being repeated until the end. As the songs progress, ever-so-slight aesthetics and variations in instrumental performances are applied. Ranging from light drum beats and brushwork to soft violin tunes, the album features quite a large array of different sounds and instruments that’s it’s almost impossible to pick them all, sometimes songs build as a post-rock track would, building to a crescendo and crashing into a climax. Because of the large band and variety of instrumentation, it’s difficult to attribute the sounds to their corresponding musician. The album peaks on the last track, the title track, which closes the album off brilliantly with its ambient nature. The song contains gradual building synths and a slow but sure drum pound every few seconds. Cave sings mournfully and soft and is accompanied by female vocals that float neatly under his until the song draws to a close, leaving a feeling of astonishment and awe.

Throughout the record, there are so many moments, melodies and meticulously placed parts that it would be folly to try and re-imagine and give a nod to each one. What’s seen here is Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds not only persevering without former member Mick Harvey, but thriving as if nothing has changed. The music is powerful, it’s thoughtful, it’s unique and it fits seamlessly with the rest of their discography. Always changing but continuing to stay true to a certain style, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds have struck gold once again with Push the Sky Away.



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user ratings (202)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Scorpion (4)
Push the Sky Away sees Nick Cave departing from the garage-rock sound of his previous releases. The ...

GiantMan (4.5)
“Some people say it’s just Rock’n'Roll, but it gets you right down to your soul.”...

reggy (4.5)
A very worthy addition to an extraordinary body of work....


Comments:Add a Comment 
MichaelSnoxall
February 8th 2013


12163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Stream is here: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/review/home-is-where-the-art-is-for-nick-cave/story-fn9n8gph-1226572820922

I was too eager to hold off posting this review for a few days.


MrElmo
February 8th 2013


1955 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

not a fan of late Cave but ya never now, gonna take the stream cuz it is nick after all. rev was insta needed so good job

MichaelSnoxall
February 8th 2013


12163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! was more miss than than for me, but other than that I adore all his records. Even Nocturama.

Blaizend
February 8th 2013


647 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this owns

CaptainAaarrrggghhh
February 8th 2013


169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

MrElmo

Def check it out, so far on track 4, it's like the bastard lovechild of Murder Ballads and The Boatman's Call.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2013


4445 Comments


I haven't picked this up yet but I am excited to hear this. Nice work, Michael.

EyesWideShut
February 8th 2013


3182 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think im gonna give this a 4, but when I compare it to his other godly works its very pale in comparison...

Never really got why people didnt like Dig Lazarus more but w/e.

YoYoMancuso
February 8th 2013


11173 Comments


sweet this guy rules. liked your review too.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2013


23923 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"hiatus'" should be "hiatuses" in the first paragraph, or maybe just "hiatus", not sure if it needs to be pluralized

pretty good review. I'm still working my way through his discog and am currently stuck on classics like Let Love In and Henry's Dream so it'll be a while til I hear this probably.

Digging: RATKING - So It Goes

mindleviticus
February 8th 2013


8295 Comments


Haven't listened to anything by these guys except for COME TO TUPELOOOOO

MichaelSnoxall
February 8th 2013


12163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Never really got why people didnt like Dig Lazarus more but w/e.

It was pretty well received and critically acclaimed.

"hiatus'" should be "hiatuses" in the first paragraph, or maybe just "hiatus", not sure if it needs to be pluralized

Whoops, I fucked up there. Will fix now.

WhiteNoise
February 8th 2013


3224 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nick cave needs more love on this site...

blastOFFitsPARTYtime
February 8th 2013


1477 Comments


Neeeeed this

InFiction
February 8th 2013


3695 Comments


Good review as always, Pos'd. Need to check this out when I'm not so bogged down with other music.

MichaelSnoxall
February 8th 2013


12163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks, brother.

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2013


4507 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

what the hell is up with the miley cyrus reference in Higgs Boson Blues

PoodleRapist
February 9th 2013


254 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review, was waiting for one of this album. agreed that the lyrics can get kinda odd here and there... "i was the match that would fire up her snatch" is up there with "i passed a cow and the cow was brown."

still love it though, haha

WhiteNoise
February 9th 2013


3224 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nick cave can get away with bad lyrics though, he does what he wants!

CaptainAaarrrggghhh
February 9th 2013


169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It does seem like he's just throwing those absurd lines for the fun of it

CaptainAaarrrggghhh
February 9th 2013


169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Actually, aside from the really catchy opener and an insanely good closer, the album doesn't have any
real gems. It's really a pleasure to listen to but when it's over you'll most likely be humming one of
the two aforementioned tracks. Jubilee Street is pretty good too, the sound progression is great, and
the overall sound-pallette on the record is sweet - mellow, with subtle intensity. But no hits,
meaning no Nick Cave-esque hits, which is a let-down. An experiment in soundscapes. A good one.
Damn is this title-track great. Nice to see them branching out of their bluesy sound.



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