Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
Skeleton Tree
Bad Seed Ltd

Maybe I’m the wrong person to review the new record from Aussie goth-blues-overlord Nick Cave. I have every one of his albums dating back to The Birthday Party, I’ve read all of his novels and soaked up his soundtracks. Yes, I am a biased fanboy. When Cave’s 15-year-old son, Arthur, fell to his death last year, the singer was midway through writing his 16th album. Exploring the depths of Cave’s obvious grief, Skeleton Tree was never going to be an easy listen, and only he knows how cathartic the writing process was. On I Need You, one of the many unflinchingly raw moments, Cave sounds at his most naked and vulnerable, his voice croaky and close to tears. As an expressive piece of art, Skeleton Tree is a stunning accomplishment, a poetic torrent of heartfelt emotions so viscerally beautiful and astoundingly painful you can almost taste the torment in his words. But as a listening experience, it lacks the strong songwriting needed to bring me, one of Cave’s biggest fans, back to it time and again.