This month marks the fulfillment of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' promise to reissue 14 of their albums on 180-gram vinyl. Starting with From Her to Eternity (1984), the records have been appearing since last fall, with seminal albums Kicking Against the Pricks (1986) and Tender Prey (1988) dropping during the holidays, and the last pair—The Good Son and The Boatman's Call coming out next week. Cave and band have worked their deep, dark magic with a huge range of sounds over the years, from punk to electronica to gospel—usually all at once—but these last two releases in the series are possibly their most musically and emotionally direct.
Cave's goth-gospel piano playing and awesomely strident vocal dominate the arrangements on these particular two albums, which feature tunes that are all the more disturbing for their simplicity. On Boatman's Call, Cave keeps things surprisingly spare and gentle for "Into My Arms," a a sort of sinister lullaby that Cave also performed at the funeral of fellow Australlian artist Michael Hutchence of INXS. On The Good Son, "The Weeping Song" rolls like lonely waves as Cave plays rhythmically, in step with drummer/percussionist Thomas Wydler. And pleasure and pain meet ecstatically in the power chords and delicate glisses of the great ballad "Lucy." Audiophiles, fans, or really anyone with a turntable and a beating heart could easily spend the next several months appreciating this generous regifting of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' catalog.