I’d forgotten how much I liked Nick Cave. The Grinderman stuff was OK, but it was really a couple of s***-hot singles and two disappointing albums that didn’t have much in the way of tunes. Push the Sky Away is all tunes.
There’s a fine point in the mature envelope-pusher’s life where they make easy-to-listen to music that is as comfortable as a warm bath, which is usually the last point of true delight before they slide down the creative chute into flaccid Dad Rock. Or would it be Grandad Rock by now?
“Are you touching my cock?”
The fan squeals in delight as she gropes the singer in the crowded venue.
“I’m fifty-one years old!”
Embarrassed pause. The fan removes her hand.
“I can not believe I said that.”
The band resumes their song.
That was a few years ago now, but I think it’s telling. At an age where most are contemplating retirement, Nick Cave is still desired. Vital. Full of life. While Push the Sky Away might not be the latest post-brostep-grimecore-whatever, it’s not old. If we’re talking masterclasses in the finer art of songwriting here, it sits comfortably alongside the last dEUS album, or perhaps FLOW by Cave’s erstwhile bandmate, Foetus. And, you’ll recall, Thirlwell followed up FLOW with that Latin opera-bhangra-metal stuff. There’s a confidence that comes when it’s your fifteenth album – an unhurried assurance. You know exactly what you’re doing.
The title track – a pared down organ-and-vocal ballad gives plenty of time to reflect on the cover. That’s his wife, there, in the buff. At first it looks like he’s pointing out of the window, but apparently he’s throwing open the shutters to illuminate her nude form. Her hair forms a mask, her manner hunched. “OMG, Nick! Shut the curtains!” you can hear her plead as she runs for her bathrobe. Inconsiderate bastard.
Air. That’s what I was thinking of. The first track sounds like Air. “We breathe it in.” This is the first album without Mick Harvey, but the split doesn’t seem to have diluted the talent pool. Push the Sky Away may be mellow and unthreatening, but it’s every bit as enjoyable as their Murder Ballads best.
Classic is the word we’re looking for.
[Caution: NSFW (nudity)]
>>Stream Push the Sky Away here>>