Nick Cave probably astounded fans with his last release, Nocturama. I say astounded because of the poor quality of this record. It seemed to have no substance, very dreary and uninteresting music that for some reason seemed very forced. In a way I can understand that it sounded forced, because it literally WAS forced. When creating Nocturama, Cave did most of the work himself and got the Bad Seeds in to record his work. His style of writing that album though, was to lock himself in an office from 9 til 5 and create the music, then forget about it at knock of time. The results spoke for themselves in the most ordinary way possible, however he seems to have involved The Bad Seeds much more in the writing process of his new double cd ‘Abattoir Blues/The Lyre Of Orpheus'.

  

The record kicks off with a groovy lounge rock style track, and sticks to a bit of that style for the next couple of songs. Whilst this is more of a ‘Nocturama' style of music, it just comes across better on this record. The musicians play better, and Cave sings with a lot more passion. Moving through the ‘Abattoir Blues' disc, it is clear that The Bad Seeds have added plenty of their signature sounds throughout the tracks. The funky little bass riffs, the riding piano sounds, and their very distinct guitar sounds are evident. Lots of choral vocals show up through the first disc also, the big highlight being ‘There She Goes My Beautiful World', which is really catchy and upbeat. The first single, ‘Nature Boy' continues in a similar fashion before slowing down to the drum and piano driven ‘Abattoir Blues', and the slow moving yet catchy ‘Let The Bells Ring'. While this disc has a few throwaway tracks, for the most part it is an interesting, good quality piece of work.

  

Disc 2, ‘The Lyre Of Orpheus' is almost a different record all together, and seems to skirt over Cave's illustrious career, sampling bits and pieces from various albums over the years. The opening track has elements of ‘Murder Ballads', ‘Easy Money' would have fitted in easily with tracks from ‘No More Shall We Part'. ‘Supernaturally' is a fast paced rocker which would probably suit some of Cave's earlier records, while the last 2 tracks would probably fit into a ‘Boatmans Call' type of record. While that sounds like the second disc is all over the place, it is actually a well constructed snapshot of musical styles and influences.

  

Throughout both discs, one thing is clear. Nick Cave has tried to use as much of his own and The Bad Seeds musical experience as possible to create a diverse collection of songs. He has managed to do this, and appears to feel comfortable singing most of the tracks. Some might see the diversity on this record as a bad thing, however the way these tracks mould together to create the record is something amazing. Cave's voice sounds good through most of the record, however the vocal writing is not quite up to the standard of some of Cave's previous work, but that is indicative of the whole album. While ‘Abattoir Blues/The Lyre Of Orpheus' is a good record, it is certainly not some of Cave's best work. The second disc is easy to listen to, and is good music to relax too. The first disc however, is a bit frantic and difficult to listen too. While being musically quite good, it is just a style that isn't really ideal to have on in the background because it takes a bit of work to get into.

  

All in all, it's a good record, but fails to live up to some of the better work that Cave has done over his long and exceptional career.

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