Nick Cave's 2008 album DIG, LAZARUS, DIG is a study in growing old gracefully, while still punching and kicking into that good night. Some might claim that Cave has irrevocably mellowed since his earlier days, yet one need only look to the arch, caustic musical leg-hump that was 2007's Grinderman album for evidence to the contrary. In fact, Cave's intensity hasn't lapsed in the least, it's merely evolved. DIG, LAZARUS, DIG, however, speaks to the artistry behind this evolution in attitude.
From the opening title track, the listener gets a complete picture of everything Nick Cave has been working toward as an artist. The song's biblical overtures are posited against allusions to modern hedonism and the price of vanity in a rapidly deteriorating culture. Cave is the embodiment of the sacred-profane binary, and "Lazarus" is his swaggering, four-minute skronk-funk opus. And while Cave is certainly running the show here, the Bad Seeds are also given their due. Seasoned pros that they are, the band lays down confident, moody rock that swings ("We Call Upon the Author") and haunts ("Night of the Lotus Eaters") equally, depending on which muse is calling to their leader at any given moment. Cave is now a rock institution and one of the style's most innovative, mercurial, and artistically satisfying artists. DIG, LAZARUS, DIG is yet another excellent entry in his stunning body of work.