Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Abattoir Blues / The Lyre Of Orpheus

There is nothing light-hearted about that slash separating the titles of this new double-record by musical mastermind Nick Cave. That said, the two faces of the album manage to meet each other seamlessly, enriching and informing one another along the way. Cave and the Bad Seeds launch the slaughterhouse side with the storming gospel of "Get Ready For Love,” before offering up the blustery blues explosion of "Hiding All Away.” They throw in a soaring, anthemic rocker like "There She Goes, My Beautiful World” for good measure but let up in time for the thumping drums and swagger of "Abattoir Blues.” If Cave gives gloom and doom a kick in the ass initially, he offers them a place to sit with The Lyre of Orpheus, whose title track is a comically heavy adaptation of Greek mythology. "Breathless” provides a light, poppy respite from the dark hues of ballads that follow, such as "Babe You Turn Me On.” The haunting, Portishead-vibe of "Easy Money” is nipped by the sudden drive of "Supernaturally,” but that’s brought back down by the album’s mid-tempo closers "Carry Me” and "O Children.” Though it may initially seem like a pointed division between the lush, upbeat rock that introduces the record and the sparse balladry that closes it off, Cave has actually composed a compelling and cohesive album out of inventive and disparate sounds. (Anti)