|1. Into My Arms|
|2. Lime-Tree Arbour|
|3. People Ain't No Good|
|4. Brompton Oratory|
|5. There Is A Kingdom|
|6. (Are You) The One I've Been Waiting For?|
|7. Where Do We Go Now But Nowherer?|
|8. West Country Girl|
|9. Black Hair|
|10. Idiot Prayer|
|11. Far From Me|
|12. Green Eyes|
On The Boatman's Call, Cave's latest collection, the singer-songwriter finds room for the personal, the spiritual, and even the hopeful in his grey psyche. With only the sparest accompaniment--often just a piano or organ, light percussion, and violin (care of Dirty Three's Warren Ellis)--Cave employs traditional folk song structure and simplicity to weave tales saddened less through tragedy as through emptiness. Songs like "Into My Arms" and "(Are You) The One That I've Been Waiting For?" are among Cave's most self-assured and soulful to date. Stripped down and grown up--though still ghoulish and grave--Cave the storyteller has turned into something of a vampire Springsteen.
Ultimately, The Boatman's Call sounds like Cave's attempt to poison his cake and eat it too. For a record so resolute in its denial of divinity, The Boatman's Call's obsession with religious themes and imagery might seem contradictory if they hadn't come from someone like Cave, who fancies himself a fallen angel searching for a ladder back to heaven. Where Gothic meets cathedral, there resides, for better or worse, our dark saint Nick. --Roni Sarig
Are you still with me? From the gleefully bleak and utterly violent world of From Her to Eternity, through the 50's poppy sounds of Kicking Against the Pricks, through the melancholic Good Son and all the way to Let Love In, Cave developed a singular sound that was part rock'n'roll, part blues and a lot of poppified country-folk (that kicks Garth Brooks' be-hind all across America). This album is the rawest and most sincere expression of his vision. At times it's bleak ("Black Hair"). Other times its sweetly loving ("Into My Arms"). And there are times it's outright angry ("People Ain't No Good"). The final spoken word poem at last shows us that Cave doesn't hate gays (is the narrator a she or a he? is the partner male or female?). Whereas Murder Ballads' "Stagger Lee" leaves little doubt on that score (even if it was a joke). Or the anhedonic "Do You Love Me? 2" with its theme of teen gay sex slavery. Gay bashing is a part of every Aussie's life and Cave is probably a man of his times. Here he shows that he can also break free of tradition.
Nocturama, which came out a while ago as of this writing, is good. But it doesn't match the levels of dark grace achieved on this album. It's too bad the market place won't let Cave explore the regions he does here further.