Thursday, January 31, 2008

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Abattoir Blues & The Lyre of Orpheus

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Nick Cave (vocals, piano); Mick Harvey (guitar); Warren Ellis (bouzouki, mandolin, violin, flute); Conway Savage (piano); James Johnston (organ); Martyn P. Casey (bass instrument); Jim Sclavunos, Thomas Wydler (drums, percussion).

Additional personnel: London Community Gospel Choir.

Recording information: Studios Ferber, Paris, France (04/2004).

Two albums packaged together, the hard-hitting ABATTOIR BLUES and the quieter, more balladic THE LYRE OF ORPHEUS were recorded in a single burst of creativity in spring of the same year. Even though this release marks the first time in Nick Cave's solo career that he'd recorded without guitarist/partner-in-crime Blixa Bargeld, there is no diminution of raw energy. "Nature Boy" may boast a pop-friendly chorus, but ABATTOIR BLUES come charging out of the gate with the furious "Get Ready for Love," and "Fable of the Brown Ape" contains some extremely Blixa-like, discordant guitar squalls. Even the potentially risky gambit of adding a gospel choir for some tracks pays off, successfully upping the drama quotient.

THE LYRE OF ORPHEUS is the more contemplative half of the set, but is no less intense for that. In fact, the title song--essentially a retelling of the Greek legend--bears as stunning an impact as anything on the disc's more raucous partner. Throughout both albums, Cave's lyricism is at a peak; from the violent-but-inspired imagery of the driving, bluesy "Hiding All Away" to the almost shockingly vivid nature symbolism employed on "Babe, You Turn Me On," Cave truly earns his stripes as one of the finest wordsmiths of his generation.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Abattoir Blues

Cave, Nick and the Bad Seeds - The Lyre Of Orpheus

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