Posting this has forced me to finally confront the awful truth that Nick Cave’s face is real. His messy, messy, elongated, nightmare confusion of a face. And the hair, oh lord the hair. And the facial hair, sweet mercy no. His face is a paradox – something you would never want to look at but yet inevitably find yourself drawn to. You think you can unravel the mystery of his distorted mess of flesh, but you can’t. No one can. Even the way he moves is terrifying in it’s own perverse, inhuman way. Watch the video to Jubilee Street and you’ll see for yourself that it seems impossible that this man can actually exist.
But anyway, the music. Dig Lazarus Dig is a bit of a turn for Nick ‘Nightmare Face’ Cave and The Bad Seeds. It’s garage rock style and rough n tumble edge has more in common with side-project Grinderman but, since it’s the real deal, it is much superior to anything Grinderman produced. And, since it’s Cave, it of course features a truckload of bible and blues references. All the same it’s more accessible than most from a man who produces 7 minute long accounts of executions and stormy retellings of miscarriages. It’s also infinitely more interesting than recent release Push The Sky Away – an album that pretty much contained two good songs and they were the ones everyone had already heard.
Midnight Man is a weird middle ground between typical Cave and the shift in style. For much of the song it’s drowned in a swirl of bizzare sounding guitar and lingering organs that surge occasionally around Cave’s crooning, but then there are hints sprinkled here and there – the occasional licks of a more blues-y, conventional riff and the more traditional sounding chorus, filled with vintage sounding organ swells and propulsive guitar. For the most part though it’s an overwhelmingly strange song, which comes as no surprise really. As usual Cave’s lyrics are pretty good, though not as good as he seems to think, and his vocal performance ties everything else together.
All in all it’s a weird, slightly creepy song dotted with affectations of blues amidst it’s shifting, endlessly off-kileter surface. So, essentially, it’s a pretty faithful recreation of Nick Cave generally. Less facial hair though, which is always good.