20 September 2013

20th September - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' Abattoir Blues/ The Lyre of Orpheus

Artist – Album: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Abattoir Blues/ The Lyre of Orpheus
Released:  20th September 2004
Sounds Like: Tick another one off Cave’s bucket list

By 2004, there wasn’t much that Nick Cave hadn’t done in his 31 year career. Revolutionary and verbose all the way, he’d progressed from a ferocious goth-punk weirdo with The Birthday Party to a wry but heartfelt balladeer by the time of The Boatman’s Call. He’d even managed to fashion a stunning murder ballad duet with ex-Neighbours crumpet Kylie Minogue, in one of the most unlikely pairings ever. What he hadn’t yet done was a double album, but that was remedied with Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus.

In truth, this is really less a double album than two distinct records that just so happen to have been packaged and released on the same day. Each is distinct and look in turn at the two distinct phases in Cave’s career – the stonking rocker on Abattoir Blues and the melodramatic romancer on The Lyre of Orpheus – but tone them down a tasteful notch thanks to his added maturity.

Although there are plenty of highlights on both (‘Babe, You Turn Me On’ and ‘Carry Me’ stand out on the second disc), Abattoir Blues is the runaway favourite of mine. Kick-starting with the blistering ‘Get Ready for Love’ and it’s God-mocking “Praise Him till you've forgotten what you're praising Him for”, it’s clear that the ivory tinkling troubadour of just a few years prior hadn’t managed to permanently subdue Cave’s playful inner demon. If the albums actually had come separately, and I was solely reviewing this half, it’d be hard not to award it full marks given the strength of belting songs such as ‘Cannibal’s Hymn’, ‘Hiding All Away’, ‘There She Goes, My Beautiful World’ and ‘Nature Boy’. As it is, an 8 out of 10 and emphatic recommendation will do.

Albumaday... rating: 8/10

1.       Get Ready for Love – 5:05
2.       Cannibal’s Hymn – 4:54
3.       Hiding All Away – 6:31
4.       Messiah Ward – 5:14
5.       There She Goes, My Beautiful World – 5:17
6.       Nature Boy – 4:54
7.       Abattoir Blues – 3:58
8.       Let the Bells Ring – 4:26
9.       Fable of the Brown Ape – 2:45
10.   The Lyre of Orpheus – 5:36
11.   Breathless – 3:13
12.   Babe, You Turn Me On – 4:21
13.   Easy Money – 6:43
14.   Supernaturally – 4:37
15.   Spell – 4:25
16.   Carry Me – 3:37
17.   O Children – 6:51

Listen to ‘Nature Boy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JquzYr-5bE4

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