Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
Push The Sky Away


4.5
superb

Review

by reggy USER (3 Reviews)
February 21st, 2013 | 26 replies | 1,797 views


Release Date: 02/18/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A very worthy addition to an extraordinary body of work.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

He might be somewhat rich and somewhat famous, but it must be frustrating being Nick Cave. Despite creating an exceptional body of work in his thirty years playing with the Bad Seeds, ultimately he’s never really come close to being regarded as a titan of the craft like, say, a Bowie or a Dylan. He is seemingly forever doomed to be a cult figure: Worshipped by few, ignored by many and cursed to be unfairly overlooked by the pop culture narrative. Nevertheless, with a new album comes new hope. Will ‘Push the Sky Away’, his fifteenth effort with the Bad Seeds, finally grant him a seat at the inner sanctum of the songwriting gods?

Simple answer is, probably not. But this isn’t down to a lack of quality, but moreso due to the album being the group’s strangest, slowest-burning work since 1997’s exceptional ‘The Boatman’s Call’. With the departure of long-time collaborator Mick Taylor, gone are the fuzzy, garage blues of their last effort (2005’s thrilling ‘Dig, Lazurus, Dig!!!’), replaced by a restrained, ambient minimalism. This change in direction is led by multi-instrumentalist Warren Ellis, and he leaves a distinctive mark on the album. From the sparse, keyboard-led opener We Know Who U R, to the gentle blues and exquisite orchestration of Jubilee Street, his playing is distinctive, calm and assured, creating an elaborate patchwork of claustrophobic textures and subtle movements upon which Cave can play upon.

And it’s the singer himself, who, ultimately, we want to hear from. Vocally, he’s in inspired form throughout, carving haunting melodies that he has said are “some of his most beautiful”. Not many voices on earth are this immediately recognisable, and that unmistakeable, signature baritone is as striking as ever, shifting from gravelly, 100-a-day menace on the brilliant Higgs Boson Blues to gentle and fragile lament on the almost unbearably moving title track.

Lyrically, he’s as good as he ever was: Whether painting vivid, modernist sketches of embittered, lost souls drifting aimlessly through the world, like the “local boys” and “city girls” of Wide Lovely Eyes, or ensconced in his own bizarre surrealism in Mermaids, he can effortlessly shift between different lyrical voices and styles. But Cave is at his best when he’s at his most vulnerable, when he cuts to the core and tackles universal themes of love, life and death: “You grow old/and you grow cold” he spits on Water’s Edge, “Distant waves of distant love/You wave and say goodbye” he croons gently on Wide Lovely Eyes. Coupled with that innate ability to deliver a line, something quite powerful is created at these more tender, bare moments.

Push the Sky Away isn’t an easy listen. Full of sorrow, sadness and Cave-esque strangeness. It is a dense, difficult work, but given time, reveals itself to be hauntingly moving and frequently brilliant. After fifteen of the things, it’s a supreme testament to the artist that he is still creating albums like this, when so many of his contemporaries rely on tired rehashes of previous material, if they haven’t already faded from view entirely. ‘Push the Sky Away’ is a very worthy addition to Cave’s extraordinary body of work, a monumental repertoire that hopefully will become more recognised as the years drift by.


user ratings (191)
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.”...

Michael Snoxall (4)
"And some people say it's just rock n' roll, but it gets you right down to your soul."...


Comments:Add a Comment 
MichaelSnoxall
February 21st 2013



12163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

he’s never really come close to being regarded as a titan of the craft like, say, a Bowie or a Dylan. He is seemingly forever doomed to be a cult figure: Worshipped by few, ignored by many and cursed to be unfairly overlooked by the pop culture narrative.


You realise that Nick Cave is world famous and is a massive musical figure in today's music industry? He is no way a cult figure. He is massively popular and known by almost everyone over the age of at least twenty.

MichaelSnoxall
February 21st 2013



12163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I mean, his influence is almost insurmountable, the man sells out arenas all over the world. The guy is already regarded as an artistic genius and is so busy because everyone wants a piece o' the Cave.

MichaelSnoxall
February 21st 2013



12163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Other than that, good review.

YankeeDudel
February 21st 2013



9304 Comments


hes not nearly as big in america. not close to bowie or dylan. so no you're wrong again snox.

Digging: Croatian Amor - Genitalia Garden

MichaelSnoxall
February 21st 2013



12163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Because America = most of the world.

His influence and fanbase in Britain, Europe and Australia is fucking mammoth. They hang flags of the cunt in the streets.

MichaelSnoxall
February 21st 2013



12163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

And I'm Australian, so I use "cunt" as a loving term.

YankeeDudel
February 21st 2013



9304 Comments


Yea well America is kinda a pretty huge market and hes still a tier below the other big wigs everywhere except Australia. Hes 2nd level no shame in it.

MichaelSnoxall
February 21st 2013



12163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

England, Europe, Australia > America


plus, it's not even like he's unknown in America.

YankeeDudel
February 21st 2013



9304 Comments


His only album to break the top 130 here was his last album. Hes very much an underground artist in america and you never hear about him ever. I know hes your boy but guys like Bruce Springsteen top him in his own country even and so do many others. Nick Cave hasnt ever had a #1 album not even in in Austrailia. Accept the truth snox. Accept it.

MichaelSnoxall
February 21st 2013



12163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

He doesn't have to have a #1 album to be a well-known musical figure. He's far from a cult-status artist in any country, even America.

YankeeDudel
February 21st 2013



9304 Comments


jus sayin he aint tier 1. hes tier 2b

MichaelSnoxall
February 21st 2013



12163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

that's still no way near the cult status he's giving Cave.

Cult status is like tier 37c

YankeeDudel
February 21st 2013



9304 Comments


alright agreed there. but in america, which is where im guessing the reviewer is from, he is pretty much cult status. you can still be huge and be cult status tho. look at neutral milk hotel. its not like they play NMH on the radio here ever or feature them next to nirvana in I love the 90s shows. yet they're hugeeeeeeee underground.

MichaelSnoxall
February 21st 2013



12163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

yeah


but


they literally have a Nick Cave flag hanging in the streets of my city

YankeeDudel
February 21st 2013



9304 Comments


yea and who sees it a bunch of kangaroos and crocodile hunters? wake me up when hes in manhattan!

MichaelSnoxall
February 21st 2013



12163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

lol

reggy
February 21st 2013



6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You're right in saying that he has a large, loyal fanbase, but compared to Dylan, Bowie etc, artists who are accepted as canon by virtually everyone, Cave could certainly be considered a cult figure. I was speaking in those relative terms. It is certainly debatable whether he is or not but not as outlandish a statement as you seem to be making out.

Thanks for checking out the review anyway.

MrElmo
February 21st 2013



1950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Here in france people who know about Cave are around at least 50 but it is france so when he'll be dead and seen on the news maybe the people around 38 will know about him....

MrElmo
February 21st 2013



1950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

btw awesome album, you gave me an urge to jam this again.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
February 21st 2013



7313 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Obviously he's not as big as Dylan or Bowie but I think Nice Cave's a lot more than a cult figure. I've always seen 'cult' artist being those who've built decent fanbases in spite of minimal mainstream exposure. In most countries, Nick Cave gets an awful lot of exposure, and for many is accepted as a 'classic' artist.

Anyway, arguments aside, this is a good review. The album's excellent, I might up it to a 4 at some point.



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