Monday, October 21, 2013

Album Review: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Henry's Dream

Henry's Dream, released in 1992 sees Nick Cave & Co hone their songwriting into nine finely crafted songs.  At times almost too crafted.  Some tracks Papa Won't Leave You Henry, I Had A Dream Joe and Brother My Cup Is Empty are almost Cave-by-numbers, caricatures of a Nick Cave fire and brim-stomp.  Better are the sparser, more stripped down slower tracks.  Straight To You feels almost redemptive, while Christina The Astonishing is an exquisite lament.
When I First Came To Town has an epic feel to it, with Thomas Wydler's military style drums accompanied by cello and violins, and works very well, as does the brooding death march Loom of the Land.  The album finishes off with Jack the Ripper, a call and response Cave song which works fine, but doesn't succeed as well as the slower material, leaving this a less than essential Nick Cave album.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Album Review: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Good Son

After the intense Tender Prey, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds returned in 1990 with The Good Son.  It initially feels a little disappointing after the heights of its predecessor.  Cave is very much in balladeer mode here on tracks like Foi Na Cruz and The Ship Song.  The title track morphs from chain-gang chant, through Cave rant to become a sort of torch song.  It sounds all over the shop.
They turn in some really dramatic goth-ballads, like Sorrow's Child and The Weeping Song.  The Hammer Song dials up the intensity with vibraphone and crashing percussion, while Lament is almost the quintessential Cave ballad with its sweeping faux-strings.  They have time to fit in the glam-stomp of The Witness Song before returning to crooning on Lucy.

It's probably the first Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album in their back catalogue that you could play to your parents/grandparents/whoever but after the thrills of Tender Prey, this one suffers by comparison.  Better to take this one on its own merits and let it wash over you.