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Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

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Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
8
Few who've seen them would argue that the Bad Seeds aren't the most explosive, charismatic live band going, but here they strip down to play mellower fare. That's not to say it's not intense or pensive in its own right; Cave is a master of phrasing and knows how to enhance the suspense and drama in his carefully written lyrics. The set list here, drawing a bit from 2013's Push the Sky Away and then from throughout their catalogue, features longer songs, each drawn out patiently, and rewards fans before trying to impress novices. There are some revelations here, too. When "Higgs Boson Blues" emerged on record earlier this year, it didn't suggest it might be so tonally connected to Neil Young's "On the Beach," but here they sound like kissing cousins. After mesmerizing takes of "The Mercy Seat," which is haunting, and "People Ain't No Good," which feels as straight and true as it did 16 years ago, Cave tries to lighten the mood like only he can, calling for "Jack the Ripper." It's the most notably "upbeat" song here and sticks out like a sore thumb, but it's a necessary addition to release all of the tension built up before it. (Bad Seed Ltd.)
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