NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS 'Ghosteen'
NICK CAVE returns, BAD SEEDS in tow, with his new album 'Ghosteen'. Coming three years after 'Skeleton Tree', this record also completes a loose album trilogy that began with 2013’s 'Push The Sky Away'. As you may well have heard, 'Skeleton Tree' was released during the fallout from the death of CAVE’s son Arthur. Already a fractured and incredibly moody record prior to the death, CAVE’s subsequent lyrical changes pulled 'Skeleton Tree' into a space of numb shock. While the incident is still a core concern on 'Ghosteen', this album processes the experience to a point where CAVE’s grief informs rather than overwhelms his music. CAVE sings with a combination of clarity and sorrow, occasionally taking his voice to places it has never been before - extended periods of falsetto, for instance. The sonic temperament of 'Ghosteen' is a continuation of the abstracted songwriting found on the preceding two albums. Many of the songs here recall the most ephemeral entries on those records - 'Push The Sky Away', 'Anthrocene' - in their ambient textures, sweeping strings and processed drones. Choirs are also frequently deployed, though their contributions are far more ethereal than the raucous gospel blasts heard on CAVE’s only other double-album 'Abattoir Blues/The Lyre Of Orpheus'. All in all 'Ghosteen's sound is cerebral, one that owes as much to the contemporary classical innovations of Jóhann Jóhannsson as it does to CAVE’s regular musical touchstones. It appears to swell the bony scarcity of 2016’s 'Skeleton Tree' across two vast discs — from single to double album — but its thick, synth-orchestra grandiosity, its Biblical invocations of spectres, flaming horses, woods and miracles, conceals a soul alone. Ghost. Teen. CAVE’s son tragically died in 2016, but to view him as the titular character would miss some finer point. CAVE is an artist in constant transition, and 'Ghosteen' is his most atomic; a vast, unending construction over 70 minutes. “Ghosteen is a migrating spirit”, as is obliquely written. NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS’ seventeenth studio album 'Ghosteen' is bold and beautiful processing of loss.