Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Abattoir Blues / Lyre of Orpheus

Two entire albums of new material from Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. In broad terms, Abattoir Blues is the noisy disc and The Lyre of Orpheus is the pretty one, with the former more aggressive with the propulsive drumming of Jim Sclavunos and the latter more orchestral atop Thomas Wydler’s more subdued drums. But Cave straddles the dark and the light equally on both. Abattoir’s opener comes on like hurricane with guitarist Mick Harvey’s evil tone and a full choir riding an unyielding snare while Cave calls everyone to “Get ready for Love!” On the second disc’s titular track, Cave does some mythology rewriting, making poor Orpheus’ lyre into an instrument of destruction to the tune of a sinister waltz: “And he plucked a gentle note/ Eurydice’s eyes popped from their sockets/ And her tongue burst from her throat.” The departure of inventive guitarist Blixa Bargeld has loosened The Bad Seeds’ stylistic reins a bit, as Harvey steps to the fore, blending nicely with Warren Ellis’ stringed contributions on violin, mandolin and the distinct bouzouki.