Last seen under the gleeful guise of 2007's Grinderman, a no-nonsense rock 'n' roll excuse to head down to the basement and shout, now Nick Cave returns to his full time Bad Seeds co-conspirators for this release. "Grinderman was deliberately spare and the concepts were pretty simple," explains Cave. "With 'Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!' we allowed ourselves to get expansive." It picks up where Grinderman left off, filled with Stoogified electric guitar, driving beats, and Cave's literate, seductive, and firmly tongue-in-cheek lyrics.
Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!
finds Nick Cave back at the helm of his long-term band The Bad Seeds after some impressive soundtrack work--2005's The Assassination of Jesse James
--and a busman's holiday in the raw, rocking Grinderman. As the title suggests, Lazarus
finds Cave returning to familiar themes of God and redemption, although some of the raw poise and wild-eyed humour that resurfaced in Grinderman
remains: take the opening title track, which retells the Biblical story of the resurrection of Lazarus as transposed onto the sleazy, poverty-stricken backdrop of modern-day New York City. Musically, the likes of "Moonland" and "Night of the Lotus Eaters" have a swampy feel, all skittering drums, simmering bass and smoky organ riffs; elsewhere, there are rockers that tie on dissonant guitars without losing their dissonant touch ("Lie Down Here"). Probably the album highlight comes with "We Call Upon the Author", a sprawling, "Sister Ray"-like chugger that shows off Cave's skill for magnificent, sung-shouted narratives: "Now mixamatoid kids roam the streets, we've shunned them from the greasy grind/The poor little things, they look so sad and old as they mount us from behind". --Louis Pattison