Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Push the Sky Away

Nick Cave and the Bad SeedsPush the Sky Away
A band that the sky has never been the limit for, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds need no introduction paragraph. As their decorated frontman approaches sexagenarian status, the unlikely struggle of the album's title might represent an escape plan from the black cloud of old age. But Push the Sky Away shows Cave simmering, rather than mellowing. Although he maintains an over-excitable machismo streak (see "Mermaids" for his latest use of etymologically questionable slang for female genitalia), songs like "Finishing Jubilee Street" attempt to distinguish between the ribald, vampy goth man albums past and the self-referential, post-vampy-goth, real-life Cave, who lives in the quirky UK coastal town of Brighton. "I do husband alertness course," he deadpans in the aforementioned "Mermaids," startling fans of patriarchal Bad Seeds side-project Grinderman, before the long, ventilated verses of "Jubilee Street" simmer into understated yet soaring and elegant choruses, as wordy as they are sonically elemental. At a time when arty escapism too often descends into cheap distraction, Push the Sky Away is a vital and refreshingly sinister soundtrack to the daily grind of downbeat Bad Seeds listeners. It's a sweet musical reprieve from radio presenters with beaming suicide smiles gracing subway posters with snappy catchphrases. (Independent)