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June 21, 2024

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Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Nocturama (Mute)

By: Cam Lindsay

Every release Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are involved with seems special. Nocturama, the collective's 13th album, is no exception. Beginning with the graceful sway of "Wonderful Life", Nocturama doesn't quite follow the formula of the last few Bad Seeds record. Though the lead-off track is the band using their classic sound, what it does exactly is lead the way into a world of chaos. Not since The Birthday Party has Nick Cave sounded so unpredictable. "He Wants You" is as gentle a tale as Cave has ever told, and "Right Out Of Your Hand" is soft and simple, but after that, Cave and co. turn it up.

The album's first single, "Bring It On" is a mysterious composition that follows a conventional song structure, almost venturing into a commercial territory. While it starts fine, the chorus quickly takes it up to an anthemic level. Unfortunately, the tune sounds closer to Oasis than most Cave offerings, but it's not that bad, really. Once that finishes, things get even messier. "Dead Man In My Bed" is as garage rock as The White Stripes, The Datsuns or The Hives. A loud son-of-a-bitch, the song is a nasty tale filled with rage and contempt. It's a welcome change of scenery.

And while things seem to be getting more exciting with each song, it's not until the closing track begins, that the album hits its peak. "Babe, I'm On Fire" (which is also included in DVD format as an extra disc with the CD version) is a fifteen-minute, 40 verse epic that never slows down. Though it may seem ridiculous, the song is one of Cave's finest moments. Spewing out brash lyrics condemning everything from Bill Gates, politics and religion, Cave is a man unleashing his demons in a most compelling way.

Nocturama is powerful, menacing and certainly, not to be missed. A

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