Monday, 21 April 2008


Heh. I write a post about not being lazy and then go AWOL. Basically I went home for the Easter holiday, and I guess blogging seemed less appealing up in the rainy North. Plus there was unpleasant relationship stuff and I generally wasn't in the mood. Anyway, I am officially not dead.

So, at the express request of Mr H, I'm going to wax lyrical about Nick Cave. In fact, I'm going to go a bit further, because this has been a hell of a couple of months music-wise. Cave and R.E.M release records that can sit proudly next to their best stuff from the past, and an absolutely mind-blowing debut appears in the form of The Indelicates' American Demo.

Let's start with Mr Cave. Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! is, well, pretty much what everyone on the internets says it is - awesome. It has a fantastic energy to it, and a gorgeous richness of sound - even the slower, less rocky tracks (and there are a good few rockers - Albert Goes West and Lie Down Here (And Be My Girl) are particularly speaker-rattling) have fantastic hooks. The post-chorus riff in Moonland springs to mind, although its hardly necessary to draw you in - the dark, almost apocalyptic landscape and bitter emotional punch ('The snow provides a silent cover/And I'm not your favourite lover') in the lyrics are vintage Cave.

The last track, More News From Nowhere, marks a slightly odd shift in tone from the rest of the record. Its more relaxed (though still rhythmic, particularly in Cave's vocals) feel, as it ambles through a poetic survey of former lovers, is almost poppy. Still fantastic, but it takes a slight shift in gear to listen to after the chaotic climax of Midnight Man (which is probably my favourite track on the record).

A lot's been said about how Accelerate is supposed to be a 'comeback' for R.E.M. Well, I'm not so sure they ever fell away. I can see what people's beef is with Around The Sun, but I quite like it, and it's sure as hell better than Monster. And the three inbetween are all excellent IMO (Up is genius, despite the naysayers). Anyhoo, comeback or not, the new one is certainly a good ride. People may be talking about them redefining themselves, but there's actually a lot of throwback going on here (Stipe even references old song titles in the lyrics of Sing For The Submarine), to the point where you can play the 'which album could this be an outtake from?' game most of the way through - Until The Day Is Done could easily be from Automatic and the afore-mentioned STFS on New Adventures. The great thing is that these tracks are on a par with the stuff they hark back to, rather than being an inferior rehash - R.E.M. are showing that they've still got it. All of it.

But even these two greats are getting pushed out of my media player by American Demo (which, given the above praise, and their pedigree, is rather impressive). I'm not sure I can describe quite how fantastic The Indelicates' songwriting is. The album is an angry, bitter, dark, sarcastic act of lashing out at a generation's failure to live up to its ideals or deliver on its promises - at rebellion for rebellion's sake (a brilliant faux-news headline in the video for Julia, We Don't Live In The 60's, reads 'Rebels demand a cause - radicals baffled'), at pretentiousness and complacency and idiocy in all its manifestations. It ranges from the fiery and confrontational (Our Daughters Will Never Be Free and America) to poignant, melodic portraits of destructive relationships (Stars and New Art For The People). Good stuff.

1 comment:

Emily said...

How come I didn't get a nice little note telling me you'd updated this?! :p