Nick Cave released two new albums on the same day, in the same package, recently, and when I put it on, my stereo caught fire.

Well, no, not literally. But as rock and roll goes, this is as furiously concentrated and intense as anything you’ll hear all year. In fact, in the way he breaks new ground as an artist … the way he bellows like a preacher in the throes of divine inspiration … the way he digs down into the muck of sin and clambers up the mountain for a meeting with God … the way he comes down from that mountain in a way that SOUNDS like his face is all aglow … the way he artfully weaves Scripture through lyrics that echo ancient mythology and modern pop culture references … Nick Cave achieves a remarkable thing: He’s makes TWO albums that deliver on the promise of the best U2 albums. He out-U2’s U2!

Listening to Cave’s albums back-to-back with the new U2 record, it’s easy to hear which album is the greater achievement. On U2’s album, there are moments of true inspiration … those times, as Bono likes to say, “when God walked in the room.” Cave’s records make it sound like God showed up early and stayed all day.

Check out Abattoir Blues and The Lyre of Orpheus.

Caution: As per usual, when Cave decides that strong language is appropriate to get his message across, he uses it. This may be offensive to some listeners. To this listener, though, the words have real meaning, and are not used foolishly.

For more, read Josh Hurst’s review at Reveal.

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