‘No More Shall We Part’, is the eleventh studio album released by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and was the long awaited follow up to ‘The Boatman’s Call’. The album was well received by critics and fans alike. Continuing the atmospheric sound of ‘The Boatmans Call’, Cave was able to combine the honesty of his previous record with the unequalled story telling that fans have come to expect of bad seeds records.
Opening with the ‘As I Sat Sadly By Her Side’, a tense, tragic, tale of bitterness between Cave and the woman in the song. Immediately it is obvious that the vocals on this record are much more ambitious than ever before, it has been suggested that this is due to Cave overcoming his alcohol and drug addictions in the lead up to this record.
Struck with a broken heart, Cave produces some beautifully honest tracks that are more autobiographical than ever before. ‘We came along this road’ describes a man suffering for what he’s lost, but aware that there is no way back, all wrapped up within an heroic string arrangement and strikingly bare piano part that brings the story to life.
In contrast to the tender moments, there are some extraordinarily raw tracks in equal measure. ‘Oh My Lord’ is a building, frantic song that depicts a family’s life being thrown into turmoil due to an unknown event effecting the father. The music manages to replicate the decent into madness for the father who is simply trying to live a normal life. ‘Oh My Lord’ is made all the more interesting as it comes after ‘God is in the House’, a simple tune that intimately describes an idyllic little village, however as the song continues so do the ugly revelations, the two stories could quite easily be based in the same village.
Almost every track on this record contains an instrumental section during which the bad seeds are able to showcase their virtuoso talent, Warren Ellis’ multi instrumental ability most notably shines through, from his agitated guitar solos on ‘my sorrow wife’, to his subtle string work on ‘love letter’, he brings an ingredient to the music that seems to compliment Cave’s vocals while also providing a distinguishable counterweight to the ever present piano.
This album is a continuation of Nick Caves and the Bad Seeds departure from rock music, instead crossing genres at will in order to achieve what is now the Nick Cave sound. That is what makes this album so memorable, despite the instruments and the voice being constant you can never quite predict what is going to happen next. It is full of surprises, ranging from gentle moments of affection, to furious bursts of emotion. ‘No More Shall We Part’ may not be everybody’s favourite Nick Cave album, but few people will deny that it is one of his most defining.
This Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds article was written by Harrison Moore, a GIGsoup contributor