Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Album Review: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Firstborn Is Dead

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' second album The Firstborn Is Dead, released into the pop wastelands of 1985, opens with the rain soaked epic Tupelo.  It's a lengthy, clanking diatribe, all thrilling stops and starts and Cave bawling lyrics about "the beast it cometh, cometh down" and "the sandman's murder".  It's hard for the rest of the album to maintain that level of intensity.  Elsewhere we get the dark blues of Say Goodbye To The Little Girl Tree and Knockin' on Joe, whoops and hollers on the romping Train Long-Suffering and the twisted call and response of Black Crow King.
 
Their version of Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash's Wanted Man ups the ante considerably, transforming the original with a powerful vocal by Cave as the band display a fine grasp of dynamics, opening with Blixa Bargeld's slide guitar, speeding up gradually as the song progresses.  They finish with the intensely moody blues of Blind Lemon Jefferson.