Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
TO SOME EXTENT you know what to expect with a Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album: dark visual imagery, intensity and high energy. On the other hand each album is always a new discovery. Listening to a Nick Cave album for the first time is like being a passenger as Cave takes you on a journey, through his seedy world of beautiful women, symbolism and, the perennial Cave favourite, death.
It is this dichotomy that still makes Cave one of the most fascinating artists in modern music, fourteen albums into his career with the Bad Seeds that lies at the heart of his latest offering Dig Lazarus Dig!!!
Readers who have heard the title track and first single might be worried that they are in for a poor patchy affair and that Cave has somewhat gone off the boil; indeed, four tracks into the album, I too feared the worst. The three weakest songs on the entire album were lined up first, the only exception being the ebullient and catchy Today’s Lesson.
Luckily fans can be reassured that the rest of the album is very much Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at top form.
This album is, at its heart, a blues rock album filled with dirty riffs and distorted feedback: indebted to the Doors and the Rolling Stones, especially on the fantastic Hold On To Yourself.
Adding to this sleazy atmosphere are Cave’s lyrics, reminiscent of Bob Dylan, but as if filtered through the mind of Lou Reed, telling abstract tales high on religious symbolism and sex.
This reaches a peak on the final song of the album More News From Nowhere, an eight minute epic of psychedelic storytelling which is both dark and witty.
Overall Dig Lazarus Dig!!! is an excellent album, despite its dodgy beginning and unlike anything else and shows that Cave, now 50 and heroin-free, is just as relevant and interesting as when he entered the scene in the late 70s.