Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Ghosteen (2019)

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Ghosteen is the new album by Nick Cave and the bad seeds.  The album starts with Spinning Song – a trance inducing, meditational number where Nick uses spoken word poetry, while the gentle cosmic synth flows majestically under his stern voice. This will open your mind and prepare your heart for what’s next, it’s an uplifting song that takes away a breath after Nick repeats that he loves you ( well, the person or people he’s talking about).

There’s also talk about peace and time coming for two people. Bright Horses is next and the opening piano progression with a channelled choir note by Nick, only to be followed up by his trademark visual singing/spoken word, telling us about the horses. Is this about the horses of the apocalypse? With mentions of people hiding, it leads you to accept, maybe it is.

Waiting for You – well, it keeps that piano progression going, with violin added and Nick is here telling us another story of waiting for someone. Who is this person, or people? This is the universal question.  Nick can have us at mercy, but if we listen carefully, maybe it’s the individual to catch up, or this song is about a part of Nick’s life, or just good use of creativity.

Night Raid feels like a wake up call, with a chiming bell and smooth synth underneath. Here Nick talks about Jesus and well, it’s another thing to make you think or just relax as the choir comes in, leaving you in a most zen state. Sun Forest, ok, not much difference here, that piano/keyboard is back, so you know where this is going, but there could be surprises and twists. Well for 2 minutes, it’s like an instrumental. We have difference, the surprise, then the twist happens, Nick’s booming voice enters, he asks ‘’come on everyone’’ and tells us about children climbing to the sun. There’s that amazing choir and another mention of Jesus. If you haven’t said a little prayer, get on your knees, Mr Cave is about to count your sins and state your blessings.

Galleon Ship- well, to be sure, again, the song keeps the theme of the others, so we can tell there’s a concept of sorts here, it would be nice to hear some drums, guitar and a bit more edgy fast pace, at least one song!? The piano work is beautiful and the lyrics are inspiring, but you may be getting bored, agitated or just too in peace to care ( you may even be asleep) Ghosteen has such power of peace.

Ghosteen Speaks, is a pretty haunting track, the whaling notes and the awe inspired by the choir surely makes this one a bit special, and Nick saying he’s beside us and we beside him, and to be free. Yes, let our spirit free.

Leviathan – well if you have been caught in the maze which is this album, you may want to retrace your steps.  For this one, Nick does something different with his voice at the start, like a whispered code speak, then it’s back to his usual poetic statements about being loved by his baby. The music is very different, mysterious jungle beats and well, stadium strums of piano.

Ghosteen, the title track, with another long intro and BURSTS of energy in the right spot, Ghosteen ( who or what) really, speaks here. Fireflies, the 2nd last song, and, it’s another track about Jesus, it’s well placed and smooth. Hollywood, this is a BIG production, 14 minutes long, if you’ve ever wanted to walk down the walk of stars, right now you may be seeing stars, so, just close your eyes and let this song guide you.

Ok, the album surely isn’t like many, one song with all instruments and a faster pace would have made for the difference, but we have to understand the mind of Nick Cave.  It is an album to help you rest after a hard week of work, if you wanted classical Cave and the bad seeds, keep with them, for this, this is something else.

8/10

-Scary.

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