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Various Artists : Straight To You: Triple J’s Tribute To Nick Cave

 

Tackling a tribute CD should be approached with some trepidation, with the potential for sacrilege hovering above the collective heads of all involved. To pay homage to an iconic Australian institution such as Nick Cave, is no easy feat and triple j have delivered Straight To You, an ambitious project that serves up some tasty morsels right alongside some catch you’d rather throw back.

 

Opening the double disc album is Kram’s version of Cave’s dark and foreboding Red Right Hand. The instrumentation is accurate in representing the original, creating a sinister and atmospheric backdrop, however, Kram’s vocals lack the insistent menace that Cave emanates. Electronic artist Muscles take on Do You Love Me is, surprisingly appropriate - ragged and raspy as required and Bertie Blackman injects a desperate passion into the duet, complimenting the track nicely.

 

Abbe May’s version of Lie Down Here (And Be My Girl) is assured and captivating while Sparkadia's front man Alex Burnett produces an understated pop version of the Birthday Partys' track Shivers. Burnett also provides a fittingly warm and rich baritone on Where The Wild Roses Grow, contrasted against the pretty vintage vocals of Lanie Lane. Children Collide front man gives the classic Nick The Stripper the razor-edged abrasiveness it deserves and Lisa Mitchell makes The Ship Song into the sweetest of deranged lullabies.

 

Towards the end of CD 1, the more daring of artists' choices start to appear with Bluejuice front man Jake Stone ‘dubbing’ up The Weeping Song – a crime if ever there was one. The brutal lyrical content of O’Children may be suitably placed in the context of a hip hop song, but fans of Nick Cave's will find Urthboy’s version hard to swallow. The old hats exhibit their expertise; Tim Rogers with a more chaotic and angrier rendition of From Her To Eternity, Adalita with her heart sinking version of Straight To You and Paul Kelly pleasingly pensive, Nobody’s Baby Now.

 

This is a bold tribute album by one of the dominant musical forces in the country. Some inventive takes on a broad selection of Cave’s songs; Straight To You certainly encompasses a wide array of artists and genres.  Whether it is palatable to the die-hard fans is another question.

 

BY KRYSTAL MAYNARD

 

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