God is in the house

Some mornings you wake with a song in your head.
Unless they’re your partner, it’s rare you wake with the idea of a person in your head.

This morning I woke with a rolling video of Nick Cave’s stage-swagger in my head. Admittedly, I’ve been making my way through his back catalogue for a couple of months now but it’s been with a mild academic interest.

That was until now. I’d listened to No More Shall We Part many times before starting my back-catalogue climbing. I’d always thought it an excellent collection of songs but not one of my favourite albums.

I was wrong.

It has all the vicious self-destruction of Tender Prey; that touch of classicism that Murder Ballads gave us without any of the difficult matching of voice, voices and composition; the stadium filling numbers of Nocturama but with a real sense of knowing what loss is unabashed and with less early-Cave-arrogance than ever before – perhaps so much so that it sets the stage for The Lyre of Orpheus; and longing.

The album’s title belies the utter depth of longing evident in the simple fiddle movements on ‘Sweetheart Come’, the dark tones evident in the early slow piano “…tending her flowers” of The Sorrowful Wife, and even within the casual suburban crime of Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow – though menacing – is a sense of longing for escape.

No More Shall We Part in fact says “Please. Please let this be the marker that means we shall part no more.”


4 thoughts on “God is in the house

  1. No More Shall We Part has always been my favourite bad seeds records, and was the first record of his I bought and truly fell in love with. ‘Love Letter’ has got to be one of the most perfect songs of longing and anxious hope I have ever heard, and when it swells to the final verse of ‘rain your kisses down on me, rain your kisses down in storms, and for all who’ve come before me in your slowly fading form…” it always moves me quite unexpectedly. It is worth listening to with the video as accompaniment, a really lovely piece of simple australian psychogeography.

    Plus, “the sorrowful wife” is simply astonishing, really. A thorough apology to a woman he loves for the inevitability of his scrutinising her every act for morose inspiration.

    Good choice.

    While I love the early Bad Seeds material (particularly ‘The First Born Is Dead’), these albums relied on pastiche and humour to excuse their grandiosity and macabrity. This is particularly obvious on ‘Murder Ballads’, a thouroughly ‘funny’ record, and an album so extreme in its charicature that it seemed to put that whole movement to bed, to make way for ‘real’ songs about ‘real’ things – ie The Boatmans Call and No More Shall We Part.

    I just hope old Nick finds a compromise between his personas – While I quite liked the last 3 records(mostly for Ellis filling Blixa’s mentalist shoes and producing some damn strange noises as a result), they had a touch of mid life crisis about them…

  2. Listening to them right now, on your recommendation. I’m writing so am hardly paying attention to what the singer’s saying, but it’s providing me great music to write to. The machismo, nostalgic bravado–I’m digging it all. Thanks!

    I feel I’d like to recommend something in return. Have you heard of Blonde Redhead or The Knife or heard Reinbert de Leeuw play Erik Satie? If you feel even an inkling of a desire to explore any free jazz, I can of course happily provide you with points of departures.

  3. I have indeed heard The Knife, Blond Redhead and Satie but I’ve not heard Reinbert de Leeuw play Satie.

    Thanks for the offer but all the same, I’d rather not be jazzed on.

    Thanks though…

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