Nick Cave Grieves for and Honors His Son on ‘Skeleton Tree’
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds have returned with Skeleton Tree, the follow-up to 2013's Push the Sky Away. The eight-track album arrives in tandem with a short documentary called One More Time With Feeling that sees Cave et al. discussing the LP, as well as performing several songs off the album. The film premiered yesterday at 800 theaters across the globe, with more screenings to be added in the near future. (Check here to see if it's coming to a theater near you.)
A fair warning: Skeleton Tree is absolutely crushing, and understandably so. It's Cave's first musical statement since the untimely passing of his 15-year-old son Arthur, who fell to his death from a cliff in Brighton, England in July 2015. The band was in the middle of recording the LP at the time of the unexpected tragedy; almost instantly, the project became synonymous with it, an avenue by which Cave could grieve for his son and honor his memory. “Time is elastic,” he points out in the documentary. “We can go away from the event, but at some point the elastic snaps back, and we always come back to it.”
The band's resulting revisitation is as devastating as it is beautiful, an elegant panorama defined by religious uncertainty, existential angst and heartbroken helplessness. And yet, despite these songs' funereal sonics (organs, choirs, mournful pianos), Skeleton Tree ultimately emerges as a celebration of the power and permanence of unconditional love, and the memories attached to that love. It's the only way we can move on, after all.
Below, stream Skeleton Tree in its entirety, and watch Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds' video for "I Need You," featuring footage from One More Time With Feeling.