Album Review: White Lunar by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
Great, Based on 5 Critics
Drowned In Sound - 80 Based on rating 8/10
As long-term working partnerships go, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis have had a particularly fruitful one – 15 years is a long time to go on making music as frequently brilliant as the material that emerges from their prolific studio. More impressively, their output is showing no outward indication of the ravages of time. There’s certainly nary a sign of middle aged brewers’ droop from Messrs.
If there is such a thing as “method composing”, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis are surely amongst practice’s most accomplished followers. Here’s a statistic: of the duo’s film scores from the last four or five years there are no less than three movies which concern characters with a preponderance of facial hair. They are, in order, 2005’s The Proposition (a film for which Cave also wrote the screenplay), 2007’s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and 2009’s The Road.
The soundtrack is a curious artform. Where most other art is in some way primary, an experience of its own, an original film score is secondary-- it serves something larger. For this reason, a lot of soundtrack music doesn't stand on its own absent the film. It simply isn't meant to do that. Nick ….
When you drive down a long stretch of highway, hot and endless, you might be able to convince yourself that there may be no end in sight. You could even forget where the journey began. The two-disc White Lunar gives you that feel: an endless road that doesn’t offer resolution. Perhaps it wasn’t meant to.
With a shared connection to Australian melancholy and melodrama (as well as being susceptible to ill-advised facial hair and drug-addiction) it was perhaps inevitable that Dirty Three lynchpin Warren Ellis would eventually become Nick Cave’s (red) right hand man, especially when veteran Bad Seeds Mick Harvey and Blixa Bargeld quit their chief supporting lieutenant roles in recent years. Besides taking on more multi-instrumentalist and co-writing duties within Cave’s Bad Seeds, Ellis has also played with Cave on his semi-solo tours, become a co-conspirator in sleaze-rocking side-project Grinderman and helped to stockpile an Aladdin’s Cave of film soundtrack material. It’s the latter comradely pursuits that this new 2CD compilation attempts to put into a comfortable package for those who just can’t get enough from the twosome, or need a roadmap to understand where it leads into their better-known works; which it just about succeeds in doing.