Opening with a hollow, shimmering echo of rhythm, closely followed by that epic, signature voice of Nick Cave, The Bad Seeds’ newest release, “Push the Sky Away” immediately grips new listeners and reassures long-time fans of the group’s persevering talent. “We No Who U R” is the aforementioned opener, and open it does. The deep, crooning vocal supremacy reminiscent of Leonard Cohen overlays a rhythmic back ground that is unquestionably repetitive, but equally unarguably compelling.
However, the track seems to be a mere attention grabber, a filler of sorts, as it slides into a far more grasping song, “Wide Lovely Eyes” that seemingly defines the album in its entirety. If one was to listen to a single song from “Push the Sky Away” to caress a sense of the record’s vibe, it would be highly suggested to choose “Wide Lovely Eyes”. The eerily overlaid moan that accents so ominously the radical lyricism nearly distracts from the poetry that is this track. Seemingly a letter to a girl with the respective physical attributes of the title, the song paints an elegant portrait of release and exploration, tossing the listener into a tale of two lovers stricken by the world, but bound by the overwhelming universal pull of one another. Though, despite this- or, perhaps because of this- the narrator continues into what appears to be a goodbye with no resentment or despair, as if he cares for her escape alone, and not his own. It is truly haunting in its tragic romanticism.
As the previous track fades out, “Water’s Edge” rips in with an impressive and intriguing bass intro followed by Cave’s riveting vocalism, once more, but more aggressive now, with a sense of desperate animosity looming. The tale delves into a lustful lament for youth and aesthetic beauty. With the line “You grow old, you grow cold” repeated several times throughout the song, the thesis becomes quickly evident. This is not a track that can be summarized by any amount of words, however, with the rage and hostility pouring from every corner of the driving refrain. Soaked in desolation and despair, “Water’s Edge” leaves a chill as it slides down the ear into the spine, surfing the pieces of your mind that have been so desperately hidden for so long.
It should be stated that the album is the first record in the history of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds to lack instrumentalist and founding member Mick Harvey, who left the band in early 2009. However, it is also the first record since the group’s 1986 release “Your Funeral…My Trial” to feature Barry Anderson. The trade off appears to be an even one, as “Push the Sky Away” is soaked in the effervescent magic attributed to The Bad Seeds. The album can be found on Amazon and iTunes today.