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Spotlights [Issue # 2 ]
Nick Cave: Nocturnal Poet

By Alexandra Nava


It's been raining all night, almost as if the clouds knew what I was going to write about. The clouds know him, trust me. I've been listening to Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. Do you know them?

If you do, you understand me but in case you don't, I'm going to tell you of a band, and also a poet, we don't have to imagine in any foreign place in time like we usually do with talents of his measure for he's right here, somewhere, in the present with us. I think of him as a poet because as many songs as he's written, as much as he is a novelist, as true as it is that he's had multifaceted affairs with Hollywood as well as with painting, he's writing poetry in all of them. In his early days Nick, an art school drop out, was one of the founding elements of the well remembered Australian punk band The Birthday Party, which hasn't really disintegrated; it's rather shed skins to the band's current form. Explosive songs still surface amid the introspective piano that swollen with minor chords blends with epic story telling in his latest compositions of the past years. The Bad Seeds are his fitting glove; Mick Harvey from The Birthday Party on guitar, vocals and basically anything he can get his hands on; Blixa Bargeld from Einstürzende Neubauten on guitar and vocals; Thomas Wydler, drums and percussion; Martyn Casey on bass; Conway Savage, vocals; Jim Sclavunos, drums, percussion, and vocals; and Warren Ellis on violin. They recorded their twelfth CD, Nocturama, in seven days. "It's the place where the night animals live," Cave says. "The idea was to take some of the preciousness about the making of the record away, and possibly create records more like [they] did in the old days," says Cave. Yes indeed, the album's sound for the most part is that of those good vinyl records one used to buy in the seventies; the rawness in it is simply irresistible thanks to producer Nick Launay. The diversity of the songs is outstanding; there is a beautiful song of hope; a refined song of yearning; a somber end-twisting waltz; a boasting promise of love; a sorrowful mourning; a nostalgic reflection; and a delicate love celebration. There's something too for those who prefer Nick's heavier side; "Dead Man In My Bed" is a black humored song about an unattended wife; played with loud, "inexplicable" guitars; also "Babe, I'm On Fire," the album's last track, is a fifteen minute jamming burst. This release counts with the appearance of Chris Bailey of the Brisbane pre-punk band The Saints who shares vocals with Nick on "Bring It On." This track is the closest the band gets to mainstream and for that, some fans have voiced their disappointment. But no purist fan should see any reason to conceive those thoughts; we are talking about a man who turned down an MTV nomination not long ago, for fear that such would undermine his muse. I say let the man walk in the rooms of his mansion searching, finding, and offering us what no one else can.

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Nocturnal Poet Nick Cave Nocturama


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