The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Nick Cave resurrects rock

Songwriter Nick Cave has been a busy man in the past few years. He’s written a screenplay, co-wrote the musical score for “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” with Warren Ellis and had time to work on a side project known simply as Grinderman. Fortunately for those subjected to Cave’s artistic endeavors, it didn’t suck – far from it, actually. Then again, what would you expect from the man who hasn’t put out a bad record since he started in 1984? Twenty-four years and 12 albums after Cave’s debut “From Her to Eternity” comes “Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!” Guess what? The man has yet to disappoint.

Reuniting with his perennial backing band, The Bad Seeds, Cave and company continue to craft some of the most poignant music to date. The album moves along pretty smoothly as tracks transition from one to the next. Cave’s vocal and musical style this time around seem to fall in line with 1994’s “Let Love In,” which is perhaps his best work, if there is such a thing. Cave knows how to seriously rock, but manages to blend in just the right amount of the blues and folk genre that it’s absolutely perfect. But then again, that’s what Nick Cave does best.

Cave’s work and direction with Grinderman is evident in a few of the tracks on “Lazarus” such as “We Call Upon the Author” and “Lie Down Here (& Be My Girl),” among others. Guitars can be noisy, but only at times. The subtle use of the instruments’ feedback during bridges becomes Cave’s weapon of choice for experimentation. Cave’s work with the Bad Seeds is not as over the top as it is with Grinderman, but the slight appearance of odd noises and effects brings flashes of the side project to mind.

In “Lazarus,” Cave has really outdone himself when it comes to the vocal work. Songs become more like stories as the 50-year-old talks out verses and choruses, illustrating the music and adding a true meaning behind the words. Cave’s stories are full of Biblical undertones, allusions to classic mythology and the like – who really knows what he’s talking about sometimes, but who really cares – it sounds great.

What’s simply amazing about Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds is their ability to adapt, reinvent and experiment, but remain true to their origins in sound and production. There was the quiet, folk-driven musings of 1997’s “The Boatman’s Call” and Cave’s spoken word release, “Secret Life of the Love Song” two years later. Versatility has been key for the Australian-born crooner, in keeping with the times and as a way to refrain from being boring. And boring is something Cave is not, both musically and as a person. He’s probably the only guy who can pull of a mustache and not look like a child molester or serial rapist. “Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!” is merely a personified version of Nick Cave – it’s pretty damned cool.

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