If there is any artist that has fully embraced the upset and despair that this pandemic has caused, it is Nick Cave. With last year's live album 'Idiot Prayer', he used the empty and vapid space left in Alexandra Palace to give greater resonance to his piano-led ballads, almost using the epidemic as a bit player in the atmosphere that record created. And now he returns with regular collaborator and fellow Bad Seeds member Warren Ellis to create their first joint release 'Carnage', an album that looks to reflect the events of the last 12-months back to us in stellar beauty.
There is no doubt that Nick Cave has been here before emotionally. After the tragic death of his son, he was still able to bring some sort of light and conclusion to those events through his music, and now he is finding that voice again on 'Carnage'. His personal grief may not be the same as before, but it still comes from a similar place as he and Ellis look to deliver the soundtrack to all of our lives right now. While much of the collection feels like Nick Cave by numbers, it has this incredibly vivid and sprawling sound that manages to entice you in from the very start and deliver a truly memorable experience throughout.
While this is their first release working as a duo, it is clear that the working relationship and chemistry between Nick Cave and Warren Ellis is absolute. They almost act as extensions of each other at times, with Cave's wails responding so clearly to the dark presence of Ellis' instrumentation. 'Carnage' may have started as a project to see through the lockdowns, but it feels like we are all beginning to embrace the light in what this time has given us.