Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds' new album, Push the Sky Away, comes out Feb. 19.Seedy and slick, grandiose and intimate, mysterious and matter-of-fact, Nick Cave‘s songs unfold like short stories from bygone eras — that is, until Hannah Montana and Wikipedia make their jarring appearances. On Cave’s 15th album, Push the Sky Away, the Australian singer and writer assembles a string of slow-burning ballads that seethe and surprise, punctuated with Warren Ellis‘ gorgeous strings and bits of Cave’s own grabby, pervy innuendo.

Out Feb. 19, Push the Sky Away may be broken into nine pieces, but the whole is paced like one magnificent 43-minute Nick Cave song: tense and mysterious at first, then increasingly full-blooded and lovely as the strings make their portentous entry at the top of “Water’s Edge.” Cave even pulls off a neat meta trick, as he crafts a hypnotic six-and-a-half-minute dirge in “Jubilee Street” before returning a few tracks later with “Finishing Jubilee Street” — a song whose fantastical wanderings commence with its namesake’s completion.

Of course, writing “Jubilee Street” is itself a feat worth noting: The song captures the essence of Push the Sky Away perfectly. Take this string of words right here: “I got love in my tummy and a tiny little pain / and a 10-ton catastrophe on a 60-pound chain / And I’m pushing my wheel of love on Jubilee Street.” As uneasy corniness (“love in my tummy,” “wheel of love”) collides with haunting and hard-bitten poetry (“a 10-ton catastrophe on a 60-pound chain”), every unselfconscious word commands rapt attention and consideration.

Short of Tom Waits or maybe Greg Dulli, it’s hard to imagine many singers perfecting such an unlikely mix. But Cave and his band have always made it sound positively majestic, as their songs conjure a glittering gutter that extends all the way to the heavens.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
 

Comments are closed.

News

Donatella Lorch for NPR
November 24, 2014 | NPR · VIPs arrive in Katmandu tomorrow for the big event. The government is whitewashing buildings, sending beggars away and promising 24-hour power. But what happens when the summit ends?
 

AP
November 24, 2014 | NPR · The bill, which must be approved by parliament, defines Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people.” It has angered not only Israel’s Arab citizens, but also members of the coalition government.
 

November 24, 2014 | NPR · The experimental NewLink vaccine is based on a harmless virus that has been genetically engineered to incorporate bits of the Ebola virus. Testing of the vaccine has begun in healthy volunteers.
 

Arts & Life

HBO
November 23, 2014 | NPR · Nash says it took her a long time to see her comedic side as a gift, but she finally embraced it. Now her role as Nurse DiDi in the HBO comedy series has opened the door to more serious opportunities.
 

Courtesy of Tony Little
November 23, 2014 | NPR · The muscle man with the ponytail was once on track to become Mr. America. But a car accident shattered Tony Little’s hopes of competing. Just when he hit rock bottom, he got a life-changing idea.
 

DreamWorks Animation
November 23, 2014 | NPR · Tom McGrath, an executive producer of Penguins of Madagascar who also co-directed the first three films in the franchise, says he came to voice the part of the penguin Skipper kind of by accident.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
November 24, 2014 | WDET · A funky tour de force from one of the world’s most revered techno artists.
 

Courtesy of the artist
November 24, 2014 | NPR · The Super Furry Animals frontman’s new multimedia project explores the improbable and fantastic history of his 18th-century ancestor, John Evans. Oh, and there are unicorns.
 

Courtesy of the artist
November 23, 2014 | NPR · Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward cover pop standards with the timeless impeccability for which they’re known. Once again, Ward hovers mostly in the background, leaving Deschanel to steal the playful show.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab