The New Classic
Few artists with a 30-year career behind them continue to produce music that can astound and intrigue.
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds are the glorious exception that proves the rule. Over the course of 15 peerless studio albums, the cult Australian band have created a body of extraordinary material that translates brilliantly to their famously incendiary live shows.
Recorded before an invited audience at the KCRW studio in Los Angeles, this fourth in their occasional series of live albums is yet more visceral, serrated brilliance. Half of it is drawn from this year's relatively classicist Push The Sky Away album, with the title track and the mordant Higgs Bosun Blues prickling with tensile menace.
World-weary and witty between songs, Cave is in velvet-toned crooner mode for vintage Bad Seeds nuggets such as People Ain't No Good and the epic The Mercy Seat, stripped down here from an apocalyptic assault to a gentle, piano-led lament. Only the closing Jack The Ripper sees the Bad Seeds shift from their laid-back lounge-jazz mode to feral rockabilly.
Inevitably, you hanker for the tracks that they didn't play: where is The Weeping Song? The Ship Song? Into My Arms? Jubilee Street? But these grievances are merely another testament to the variety and vivacity of their back catalogue. Glorious.