Monday, 30 November 2015

Year by year: 2001

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – NO MORE SHALL WE PART

Nick Cave’s success is not too hard to explain. The man knows exactly what his strengths are; and he knows exactly how to use them. Which, come to think of it, does not necessarily mean great things. Great things are charisma, talent and taste. Those, and a great deal of style.

No More Shall We Part was my first Cave album. Also, it is his best. Over the years I have tried to figure out whether it’s the songs or the great sentimental power that this record holds. The hypnotic guitar rhythm driving “As I Sat Sadly By Her Side”. The stirring, minimalist piano chords that never fail to sound like the best thing in the world.

But it could not be just that. In the end, it’s the fucking songs, and the perfect mix of rough and gentle, melancholic and pounding. It’s the man who recorded The Boatman’s Call but someone who had also done “Mercy Seat” all those years ago.

It’s easy to disregard the second side of this album (besides “Oh My Lord” – you cannot disregard that) in view of what came before. “Fifteen Feet Of Pure White Snow”, “Hallelujah”, “As I Sat Sadly By Her Side”, “God Is In The House” (when I heard him do it live, the whispered part felt more spiritual than all religious sermons combined)... But then you delve deeper into something like "Darker With The Day" and you start noticing how brooding and essential those seemingly long-winded songs are. 

And “The Sorrowful Wife” is astonishing. It’s a bit like “John Finn’s Wife” the other way round. Two sides of Nick Cave stitched into one song of power and mourning. Face it, when he lets all hell loose – you just lose it. It’s mind-blowing.