Just when fans thought they had disappeared into the abyss of the suburban mediocrity they so revere, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds return with Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!!, their fourteenth studio album released in early 2008.The sinister sounds of an electric organ and the tender harmonies of a creepy hillbilly violin accompany Mr. Cave?s seemingly delirious fever crazed lyrics throughout the entire album.
Nick Cave is the quintessential love child of Bob Dylan and Tom Waits. His lyrics remind one of a deranged mid western preacher, but this is Sunday school with a kick. The biblical theme has always been part of Cave?s repertoire. It?s revisited more heavily this time, with references to anything but old school love. In tracks such as Lie Down Here (& Be My Girl) and the title track Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! references are made to shady women in shady situations and of course the ever recurring Lolita in Today?s Lesson.
On the official website Cave speaks about the concept behind the album. Inspired by the story of Lazarus and the legend of Harry Houdini, Cave wanted to create an album that explored the idea behind life after death or whether it?s life within death. ?He was the second greatest escapologist; Harry was, Lazarus, of course, being the greatest. I wanted to create a kind of vehicle, a medium, for Houdini to speak to us if he so desires, you know, from beyond the grave?. Cave created a newly resurrected Lazarus, stripped of the religious connotation, now an everyman ?back in the streets of New York, in a soup queue, a dope fiend, a slave”. A continuation of Cave?s religious existentialism is found in We Call Upon the Author. Typical Cave story telling: a stream of haphazard events structured into a quirky gothic narrative. The song questions God, Cave himself and the point of man on earth. The lyrics are littered with comical yet profoundly disturbing quips about famous writers such as Bukowski, Berryman and even describing a suicide as doing it the ?Heming-way?.
Their earlier albums such as Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus were rooted in country-blues, but they have spiced things up a bit with Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! exploring a new sound that can only be described as post-punk-goth-swamp-junkie-rock-blues. This is the bands second studio album without pianist Blixa Bargeld. There have been no remarkable additions, but a marked change in sound influenced by lead instrumentalist Warren Ellis. The sound is also tainted faintly by The Bad Seeds? side project, a pseudo garage rock band called Grinderman.
Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! has saved Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds from sure obscurity. The unhinged priest and his junkie cabaret show-band?s new album has won the hearts of the old as well as a legion of new fans.