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Friday, February 12, 2016

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Your Funeral... MyTrial

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While Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' cover album, Kicking Against the Pricks, isn't exactly a remarkable work, the positive attributes the band gained by creating it are immediately felt on its follow-up, Your Funeral... My Trial...which was released just three months later. Getting fingers and throats around some classic songs seems to have fired up the band to create songs of a more timeless nature.
Consequently, the opening piano notes of the title track are instantly memorable, as is Cave's gentle melody. The second track, "Stranger Than Kindness," takes a bit of a guitar page from Echo and the Bunnymen's Ocean Rain album, humming along like a brooding, expectant string section, as Cave's vocals, placed uncomfortably high in the mix, create an intense, inescapable atmosphere. Later on, "Sad Waters" could almost pass for a love song in a John Hughes film if not the for the endearingly off-kilter nature of the arrangement. The true standout here, though, is one of Cave's all-time bests, a dark fable entitled "The Carny."
Cave has tested out his storytelling skills a bit before this point, but he ventures into far deeper waters with "The Carny." The song features a dark lyrical landscape, dotted by a carnival horse buried in soil too shallow...but it's about so much more. The Bad Seeds are game to provide Cave's lyrics the suitable, dark-circus backdrop they deserve, but the music hints at something deeper and more sinister, as well, with a periodic (I am assuming guitar) noise tearing through, that sounds like either the sky, or a soul itself being rent apart. What an engaging piece of work.
Your Funeral... My Trial isn't quite perfect..."Hard on for Love," for instance, sounds as silly as it sounds. The album as a whole, though, shows encouraging growth for Cave and his rotten bunch, featuring deeper atmosphere ("deeper" is the key word for this review), more complex arrangements, and most importantly, better written songs. It seems Cave can only go up from here.

1986 Mute Records
1. Your Funeral, My Trial 3:57
2. Stranger Than Kindness 4:47
3. Jacks Shadow 5:43
4. The Carny 8:02
5. She Fell Away 4:33
6. Hard on for Love 5:21
7. Sad Waters 5:02
8. Long Time Man 5:48
9. Scum 2:53

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