Tag Archives: Nick Cave

Nick Cave and Warren Ellis – Carnage: One Year On Retrospective Review

For my original thoughts on Carnage, you can read my initial review here.

Longstanding collaborators Nick Cave and Warren Ellis fire on all cylinders with their offshoot of The Bad Seeds. Ellis and Cave may have worked together for decades, but Carnage marks their first album release as a duo, rather than as a group or as listed participants in a film score. Spurred on by the isolation of the coronavirus pandemic, where working in smaller groups was more suitable, the duo took to the studio and produced some of their finest work. A flagship for the year of music that was 2021, Carnage takes the brooding tones of Cave’s lyricisms, long-established in decades of work with The Bad Seeds or The Birthday Party, and connects them with a focus on the strings Ellis underscores these movements with.

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This Much I Know To Be True Review

At what point does the line between interest and obsession blur? Where is the line to be drawn between public interest and ghoulish, unnerving dive into the lives of the suffering? The second documentary on musician Nick Cave from Andrew Dominik finds him at yet another delicate point in the latter stages of his career. Although Idiot Prayer mused slightly on the creative process of art in lockdown, it was solely basing itself on the concert experience, and the isolation felt. What This Much I Know To Be True invites audiences to do is muse along with Cave and director Dominik on the personal reaction, the emotional restraint of music and the need to break from the grand stage.

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The Electrical Life of Louis Wain Review

Eccentricity plays its hand in art more often than not, especially the literal artist and the functionality of them in the working world. There is no doubt that Picasso was off his rocker, that Ralph Steadman’s ink flourishes are proposed solely on mania and sin. They are great artists because they have wholly overwhelmed themselves in their work. Just look at how many features there were on Vincent Van Gogh. Benedict Cumberbatch starred in one of those for the BBC, and now he features as another artist, Louis Wain, in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain. The early 1900s burst through with feverish intent and excitement in a film that mumbles and drones through its script like it has other places to be. 

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Nick Cave and Warren Ellis – Carnage Review

When we talk of carnage, we summon horrors beyond our wildest preparations. Horrid, stomach-churning tones and displays of how horrid people can be. Carnage, the latest album from frequent collaborators Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, wishes to do that too, but its abreaction and subsequent release show Cave, Ellis and company on fine form once again. They have removed themselves, ever so briefly, from the comfort of The Bad Seeds, and have set forth to make something similar in sound and style, but slightly different in effect and personality. As those sickening guitar riffs from Ellis shoot through the tortured, soulful lyrics Cave presents, there is a sense of simplicity and greatness to Carnage.

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Grief, Guilt, and Goodbyes – Nick Cave’s Skeleton Tree

Grief is a prominent theme found in the work of many Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ records, but nowhere is it clearer, more brutal, or truthful, than on their 2016 album, Skeleton Tree. The grief, guilt, and goodbyes found within mark a pivotal moment not just for the career of the band, but for the sanity of their songwriter.

With Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ prolific discography, their motifs are clear. They swoon in the face of death, cradle their way through the undignified ends at the heart of their music, and persuade themselves of Godlike figures, thwarting or thriving inside of their tightly written tracks. Here, on their 2016 release, they deal with suffering first-hand. Cave’s fifteen-year-old son, Arthur, passed away after falling from a cliff in Brighton under the effects of LSD. It marked what feels like a permanent shift in tone for the singer.

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One More Time With Feeling Review

From the very opening moments, it’s clear that director Andrew Dominik will struggle with his interviewees when discussing the tragedy of Nick Cave’s personal life. An introduction from long-time collaborator and Bad Seeds instrumentalist Warren Ellis details his immediate discomfort at detailing the tragic death of Cave’s son, and the emotional state of his bandmate. He outright refuses to speak or speculate on the wellbeing of his friend, and it’s a consistency found within One More Time with Feeling, a film that documents the recording and producing process of their 2016 album Skeleton Tree. Many of the insights we get into this process, and Cave’s undertaking of grief come from the horse’s mouth in a contrite understanding of loss and grief.

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20,000 Days on Earth Review

It’s easy to understate the tremendous impact Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds have had not just on music, but culture as a whole. His consistency as a performer, lyricist and innovator in his brand of music is phenomenal. Poetic beauty, pent-up emotions spilt out onto carefully crafted verses that provide such intricate beauty. I find it nigh on impossible to articulate my thoughts about Cave’s abilities not just as a performer, but as a person also. 20,000 Days on Earth looks to do that for me, though, as this documentary-drama hybrid seeks to give us a loose, semi-fictionalized life-story of Cave as we spend a day in his life.  

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