Review: Nick Cave – Push the Sky Away

by Matt De Mello

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Rating: 4 Stars

I’m wondering if Nick Cave is actually getting better as he matures (aka get’s older), because after listening to this latest effort Push the Sky Away I’m feeling like his albums are getting better. It’s a similar feeling I get when I listen to Tom Waits’ latest music. Now, Push the Sky Away is not quite as good as Murder Ballads which is my favorite Nick Cave album, but it’s still a remarkable album. 

This isn’t an album for the faint of heart and again, in the same vein as a Tom Waits album, if you’re seeking a pop masterpiece with beautiful vocals and great harmonies this isn’t the album for you. This album is for those people that seek out great music with a story. It’s for people that aren’t afraid to have their coffee black, eggs fried and news tempered. This is a raw performance by Cave in which he takes convention and turns it on its ear.

As the album evolves in the life of its 43 minutes plus run time we see things like a six and a half minute version of “Jubilee Street” only to have a song called “Finishing Jubilee Street” come a few songs later. This isn’t an album as much as it is performance art. This is an album that eschews political correctness and moral propriety and gives way to the gorgeous sounding manifesto’s of a raving lunatic that may also, in fact, be a genius.

This album is full of ballads, something that I wouldn’t normally endorse. I do like a lively album far more than I love an album of tender lullabies, but this is not that album. Listening to Cave’s low roar is listening to a man that could tell you he loves you one minute and slices your throat the next. This is a vicious man with the heart of a snake and eyes as black as coal. This is a brilliantly villainous album and aside from the aforementioned Murder Ballads could be Nick Cave’s finest to date.

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