Wednesday, 21 September 2016

ALBUM REVIEW: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - "Skeleton Tree"

By: Victor Van Ommen

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 09/09/2016
Label: Bad Seed Ltd




Musically, “Skeleton Tree” trudges through with sparse instrumentation, drones, and swells. This makes for an immersive, emotional listen, pulling at the listener’s psyche. There’s no let up, either, with each song diving deeper and deeper into darkness. By mastering the art of minimalism, The Bad Seeds have turned to making vast soundscapes, by focusing on accents instead of a steady drive.


‘Skeleton Tree’ CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Jesus Alone
2). Rings of Saturn
3). Girl in Amber
4). Magneto
5). Anthrocene
6). I Need You
7). Distant Sky
8). Skeleton Tree

The Review:

If you’re wondering why the cold, dark days of winter seem to be approaching fast, it’s thanks to Nick Cave’s new album, “Skeleton Tree.” Cave has dove deep into his well of inspiration, spinning dark tales of dealing with life and death, and unleashed this collection of eight songs on the world.

Cave’s melodramatic voice adds depth to the already bleak backdrop. His voice is full, coming more from the throat rather than the diaphragm, resonating rather than bellowing. The quivering he lets slip isn’t so much technique as it is him living the lyrics. By doing this, Cave has saturated his lyrics with an overwhelming amount of feeling, which may or may not be based on him mourning the death of his 15 year old son. There seems to be a disagreement in the online blogosphere about the inspiration for these lyrics, but what is for sure is that these eight songs are fueled by Cave’s struggle with the existence and his faith in higher powers, wrestling to find a purpose in such a mundane life, as well as contemplating death and what this means to the living.

Musically, “Skeleton Tree” trudges through with sparse instrumentation, drones, and swells. This makes for an immersive, emotional listen, pulling at the listener’s psyche. There’s no let up, either, with each song diving deeper and deeper into darkness. By mastering the art of minimalism, The Bad Seeds have turned to making vast soundscapes, by focusing on accents instead of a steady drive. Minor chords are played for effect rather than melody, percussion is few and far between and when it does hit, the element of the song it brings to the fore could shatter glass. The album feels fragile because of this, as though at any moment we’ll hear Cave completely break down.

Skeleton Tree” is a commanding listen, one that sits heavy on the shoulders, and judging by how the weather has turned, Mother Nature has scored herself a copy of this exceptional slab of wax as well.

‘Skeleton Tree’ is available everywhere now


Band info: official

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