Nick Cave is kind of a cult hero. There are certain artists that have been releasing things since before you can remember, but each of their new releases merits attention. No, people like The Rolling Stones no longer belong in this group. Cave maintains his relevance though. I wasn’t a fan of 2008’s Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! (though I warmed up to it on repeated listens), much as I’m not a fan of Grinderman. The latter especially seems like something I’d love, but I guess I don’t like Cave when he’s making hypersexualized music, for whatever reason. I loved Let Love In, and still do. Push the Sky Away isn’t really in the vein of any of these aforementioned Cave projects (I’ve seen it frequently compared to The Boatman’s Call, which I haven’t heard), so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Cave’s projects do seem to either be very upbeat or extremely depressing. So if there is a comparison to Let Love In, it’s that Push the Sky Away is also very downtrodden, but in a different style. Each song seems to be built around a repetitive melody. Cave is born of the post-punk that thrived in the 80s, so he’s no stranger to repetitive rhythms. But Bad Seeds releases tend to be a bit more complicated, while Push the Sky Away focuses on minimalism and atmosphere. It’s likely to be lumped into the art rock genre.
The album is very solid, and keeps you interested. Nothing really stands out, because that’s not the point. It’s not a pop album, but it’s a grower. The last thing I’d like to make note of is the lyricism. I hate, and I mean hate, when people use lyrics that stick out awkwardly. And when Nick Cave starts talking about Wikipedia, Hannah Montana and the “Higgs Boson Blues”, it really throws me off. Other than that, the lyricism is great as usual, and occasionally pretty funny, but not in a distracting manner.
Push the Sky Away is nothing that’s going to blow you away. But it doesn’t need to be. It’s simply impressive in itself that Cave has been making quality music for 40 years, and he’s just as consistent as ever.