Nick Cave - Tender Prey [Remastered] CD Review (Mute) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Nick Cave - Tender Prey [Remastered] CD Review (Mute)

Nick Cave - Tender Prey [Remastered] CD ReviewNick Cave's fifth album, Tender Prey (1988), was his great leap forward. This was the first disc where Cave made a complete break from his raw, experimental Birthday Party roots and this disc establishes him as a (surprisingly) accessible epic storyteller / songwriter. The band's sound benefits from the additions of Kid Congo Powers (guitar), who was juggling a second trip through the Gun Club at the time, and keyboard/organist Roland Wolf.

Tender Prey kicks off with the seven+ minute death-row story, "Mercy Seat", which has become one of Cave's signature tunes. The are a couple other Cave staples on this disc which include the darkly pulsing "Up Jumped the Devil" and garage-rock murder ballad "Deanna".

Although Nick had lyrics ready to go for “The Mercy Seat”, the song had not yet fully taken shape. Nick attests that he sat down in the studio piano and devised a descending chord structure and “…that I was able to sing the words to those chords. Then Mick threw in the E minor – B flat vamp.” However, rather than starting with the piano, recording of the basic tracks for “The Mercy Seat” actually began with a loop which Mick says “came out of the same idea that Nick had been trying to do for ages: he wanted to have a song that was really relentlessly at you and in your face.” Nick affirms he was aiming for an aggressive rapid-fire machine-like effect similar to the churning rhythm of “Harlem” by Suicide, “… but we didn’t know how to do that, so we did it with drumsticks on the open tuning of the bass”.

Like the previous Nick Cave reissues that Mute released earlier this year, Tender Prey comes in a digi-pack with a bonus DVD. The DVD contains the album remastered in 5.1 surround sound plus the following bonus tracks & videos:

Bonus Tracks
The Mercy Seat (Video version)
Girl at the Bottom of my Glass
The Mercy Seat (Acoustic version)
City of Refuge (Acoustic version)
Deanna (Acoustic version)

Videos: – also available for download to MP3/Ipod

Music videos:
The Mercy Seat

"Do You Love Me Like I Love You": (Part 5: Tender Prey)
Directed by Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard

The remastering job is stellar and stays true to the original vinyl recording. The bonus tracks are sort of hit-and-miss for me as four of the five tracks are on Cave' 2005 release B-Sides & Rarities and I'm not much for music videos. "Do You Love Me Like I Love You" is a bit more intriguing but it is the sort of "Behind the Music" footage that you will watch once and will be unlikely pick up again anytime soon.

"Do You Love Me Like I Love You" is a series of 14 new short films by British artists Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard to accompany each album. Each 40-minute film features a compelling collage of the famous, infamous and unknown talking directly to camera about what the songs mean to them. The result is a determinedly human portrait of the unique body of work, told through those who have lived and loved the music.

Nick Cave