Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! (2008)

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This being his 21st release (including a couple of live documents and soundtracks), it’s a wonder that Nick Cave could start out strong and continue to show growth with each new release. Out in March just a month after The Assassination of Jesse James soundtrack with Warren Ellis, Cave returns to his dependable Bad Seeds band to put forth an album that is vintage Cave, but with a few new twists.

“Dig, Lazarus Dig!!!” (see video below) is quirky like most Cave songs are, but in more of a Talking Heads way. “Today’s Lesson” recalls classic U2 (“New Year’s Day”) but with a more tenacious bassline. “We Call Upon The Author” is another successful marriage of Cave’s novel (as in “fiction book”, not “new”) lyric writing style and a blistering rock beat, occasionally interrupted by some bizarre electronica dance music interludes.

What makes Lazarus one of Cave’s bast, though, is that he’s showing signs of growing old gracefully. He rarely sings above a middling intensity anymore, but has gotten so well in letting his theatrical intonation and words convey all the needed effect, it really doesn’t matter. At the same time, the Bad Seeds has developed into a bulletproof backing band, able to deliver Cave’s convoluted vision of religion, love, doom and depravity better than it ever has. While there’s been some line-up changes over the years, original member Mick Harvey (Cave’s own Mike Campbell), along with Ellis, solidly anchors the band.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds has come a long way since the 1984 debut From Her To Eternity but this is a combo that remains a post-punk band at it’s core. Only now, it’s post-punk that’s matured and blended in so well with other styles that even where Cave sounds like someone else, he still sounds like himself. It’s hard to imagine him besting Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!!, but there doesn’t seem to be any slowing down with him.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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