Lots of folk lean on religion when they're trapped and desperate — an inmate facing thirty hard ones, for instance. Nick Cave is a prisoner of sorts, only his cell comes without concrete walls. And he, too, has leaned on Christianity, only recontextualizing its core doctrine to jibe with his principles and compulsions. While fronting the Bad Seeds over the years, the brooding Australian has embraced the darker side of speaking-in-tongues hysteria and modified many of the religion's threadbare parables. Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! features more of Cave's singular spiritual ardor in the Bible-meets-the-Bowery narrative of the title track and the twisted evangelism of "Jesus of the Moon." Raw Power-style guitar rock conflates with reimagined chromatic psychedelia throughout, but there's enough sonic Babel to unsteady the soul in the Rust Belt clamor of "We Call Upon the Author." Cave is as trapped and desperate as ever here — which is good, because that's when he's at his unequaled best.
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