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Cave digs a little deeper on latest

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April 8, 2008

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

Dig, Lazarus Dig!!! (Anti-)

ESSENTIAL "Albert Goes West"

In the opening song of Nick Cave's 14th album, Lazarus reinvents himself as a lounge lizard named Larry, who bums around New York and San Francisco, bedding lonely women and avoiding the popping flashbulbs of the paparazzi before returning to the darkness from which he came. After the one-two punch of the Bad Seeds' 2004 gem, "Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus," and last year's side project, "Grinderman," Cave has pulled a Lazarus maneuver of his own. "Dig, Lazarus Dig!!!" mingles "Abattoir's" arty minimalism with the roar of "Grinderman," offering a set that is half squall, half polish. Cave is, as always, a spinner of yarns: shaggy-dog stories of love gone sour, death come a-calling, and the birthing pains of art. The bash and thunder of the Bad Seeds is tempered here by softer, lulling undertones: the droning guitars of "More News From Nowhere," the wordless refrain of "Albert Goes West." "We Call Upon the Author to Explain" goes the title of one song, but Cave offers no explanations and no justifications merely another lean, assured set of glamorously gloomy songs. [Saul Austerlitz]

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