It’s impossible to listen to the 16th Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds album without considering Cave’s personal loss – the horror of which seemingly trickles into every corner, every lyric.
Cave’s son, the 15 year old Arthur, died in a tragic accident the summer of 2015 – Guardian news story – though work began on the follow up to 2013’s masterful Push The Sky Away in late 2014, followed by further sessions in autumn 2015/ early 2016.
Opening with Jesus Alone, it’s a bleak, often harrowing body of work, yet it’s the fragile beauty, particularly in Cave’s cracking voice (in such songs as Girl In Amber and Magneto) which is likely to stay with the listener once the nine tracks have concluded.
“Nothing really matters when the one you love is gone,” he barely croons on I Need You before cracking.
Accompanied by a limited cinema run for documentary One More Time With Feeling – which was initially imagined as a performance film directed by Andrew Dominik but turned into something far more emotional – Skeleton Tree is an ‘event’ release that delivers.
Over 30 years on from The Bad Seeds’ debut, Cave and company remain a powerful, startling, challenging and moving proposition.
There are few albums this chilling yet also this beautiful …