Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Dig Lazarus Dig! (4 stars)

Dig Lazarus Dig!

(Mute)

ROCK

Rather than retreating back to relative serene solitude after the Stooges-ish stramash of his tremendous side project Grinderman, Cave has rallied the troops and made his first distinctly ‘group’ record since 2004’s Nocturama.

Dig Lazarus Dig! lacks the dynamic weight of his last few records but still contains a clutch of immaculately dirty songs. Sketching out an array of malcontents, misanthropes and dreamers, he’s as lyrically incisive and divisive as ever. When he gets going on ‘Albert Goes West’ it’s all ‘ooh-oohs’ and buzzsaw guitars while the looped rumble of ‘Night of the Lotus Eaters’ brings to mind former accomplice Blixa Bargeld’s own wilful industrialisms. Similarly fine is the flamenco-tinged ballad ‘Hold Onto Yourself’, the imagined theme song to Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil.

His rocking doesn’t always translate though. ‘Lie Down Here’ is just a little too slick for its own good while ‘More News from Nowhere’ is an unashamed retread of ‘Deanna’. Given the impromptu feel to this you’d think they could have left a few more rough edges showing.

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