Tender Prey: 8.2/10.0
The Good Son: 7.8/10.0
Henry’s Dream: 8.0/10.0
Gleaming like a shiny new guillotine
The second round of what will eventually be a complete set of Nick Cave reissues is filled with death and grief and sorrow and murder and rising corpses and ghost-ship chanteys and devil women and show tunes born in hell.
It rules, of course. Besides showcasing a guy who’s fully comfortable with his hallucinogenic gift for literate terror, the silky-black woe-bringer’s fifth, sixth and seventh albums also mark his sneaky descent into a wittier, more accessible kind of cabaret-blues. These three records (released between 1988 and 1992) birthed Cave’s seminal dead-man-walking monologue “The Mercy Seat,” but they’re also home to his straightforward, still-potent romantic notions displayed on “Loom Of The Land” and the lovely goth-first-dance song “Straight To You.” A couple of dated ’90s synthetics aside, this era is well-stocked with timeless, majestic and icy tales like “Jack the Ripper,” “John Finn’s Wife” and “Foi Na Cruz,” just a few testaments to Cave’s fast-evolving ability to shine both light and darkness. And with each two-disc set featuring re-mastered stereo tracks, B-sides, videos and a new short film, the reissue does more than just blow dust off the coffin.