Creativity and expression are the sour and sweet of the heart. Contrasting Jim Jarmusch and Nick Cave feels right, but it stings. And Nick Cave takes matters of the societal soul to heart, where Jarmusch focuses on the individual and their highs and lows. But as artists, the only thing Cave and Jarmusch have in common is that they are both musicians and storytellers… and maybe a little punk rock.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds may not be the most punk part of Cave, but they definitely bring the artist out in him. Nick’s tenure in music has broken plains and shredded genres. His discussion of the universe always feels theoretical, possible, and beautiful. Yet the world he talks about is painful and exhaustive.
Cave is off the second run with Grinderman, a truly heart-pounding, deconstructive band. And it seems like Warren Ellis of Grinderman always shepherds Nick to new cliffs, hands him a pair of wings, and pushes him gently into flight. As Nick Cave soars back into the Bad Seeds, a dark tension waits him, awaiting the philosophical sounds that will creak out of his mouth, cracking on vinyl, resonating in the maple wood cabinets.
Nick is returning from the growling with wolves, returning from witnessing murder, yet he comes home to the news of postpartum depression from the “what now” of the Higgs Boson. Which appears as a front for all of life’s little let-downs. Each word is both sour and soulful. You feel your shoulders tense as he sings over resonating rhythms. And follows it up with a mellow, warm orange-colored riff, his guitar humming on the front porch, as you deliver the newspaper to him.
This album “Push the Sky Away,” could also be seen as a follow-up to the recent film “Lawless” written by Nick Cave, the story of three brothers who moonshine in the prohibition. You could smoothly watch the movie and flick on the record as the credits roll. The idea of the white picket fence sounds appealing, as time moves forward to the 50’s. And you nestle into family and institutions that brought you here. Moving from the suburbs to the seaside towns. Coming home down the poor streets of skid row, right through downtown. But by the end of the album, you are back in 2013, and you see the ruins of postmodernism, as it destroyed the fake image of the American life. But it brought truth, and the search for it.
Now that Nick Cave has freed your social conscience, you will have to wait for Jarmusch to bring the yin to yang of moral dilemmas, but know that the next Jarmusch project will be discussed here in surRealReviews. But this Bad Seeds album comes up like the mermaids Nick sings about. “They wave at me, they wave and slip back into the sea,” and just like his perception “I watch them out on the rocks, they wave at me.” The final setting is post-apocalyptic, and his voice is the soothing wind.