From Her to Eternity by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Review
From Her to Eternity is Nick Cave’s first album after the Birthday Party split. Between that break up and the release of From Her to Eternity Cave’s backing musicians underwent several changes and band names such as Nick Cave – Man or Myth and Nick Cave and The Cavemen. Thankfully, Cave arrived at the Bad Seeds in reference to the Birthday Party’s final EP.
Cave’s backing musicians on From Her to Eternity were: Blixa Bargeld (guitar), Hugo Race (guitar), Barry Adamson (bass, keyboards) and Mick Harvey (drums, keyboards). Inevitably the album sounds like a bridge between the punk/goth fury of The Birthday Party and the complex songwriting of Cave’s later career. However, From Her to Eternity starts of with a statement of intent markedly different from anything The Birthday Party would ever attempt in that it opened with a cover version. Not just any old cover version either. By using Leonard Cohen’s Avalanche, Cave was making a statement that he wished his songs so be considered in the same bracket as Cohen.
In truth, Cave’s cover suffers in comparison to Cohen’s original but it was still a bold move and neither was the version on From Her to Eternity. The limitations in Cave’s singing give the song a certain edge and it acts as a good introduction to what was to follow on the album.
Cabin Fever shows Cave’s talent for narrative lyrics with this nautical-themed tale awash with imagery straight from the sea. He mentions Jesus and “A-N-I-T-A”, presumably his then girlfriend, Anita Lane. This has a connection to the music of the birthday party but the progression is there for all to hear. Blixa Bargeld’s avant-guard flourishes bring a whole new sound to Cave and the lyrics are less shocking than previously.
Well of Misery is a great song with a kind of call and response where the lyrics in the response are often different to those in the call. It is reminiscent of My Wild Love from The Doors Waiting for the Sun.
The title track, From Her to Eternity is a brilliantly tense affair starting from the piano spreading across the entire arrangement. The riff keeps building until its satisfying finale when the male protagonist of the song finally goes out of his mind.
The Mark Twain inspired Saint Huck is a cautionary tale full of Cave’s now trademark Southern Gothic imagery and violence. This is Old Testament Nick Cave after all.
Wings off Flies was co-written with Jim Thirlwell of You’ve Got Foetus on Your Breath is a kind of bluesy Tom Waits-inspired song.
The final track is the alternately brilliant and frankly rubbish A Box For Black Paul. The song seems to reference the end of The Birthday Party and while it fails in certain part of its delivery, would prove to be a stepping stone to better things. The same could be said of From Her to Eternity as a whole. Cave has left the clutter and the fury of the Birthday Party behind and is striving for something new here. The song arrangements are more sparse, giving the lyrics prominence in a way that The Birthday Party never did.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds would take the music created on From Her to Eternity and refine and mould it into something more polished and affected over the next thirty years or so. As an opening statement, From Her to Eternity isn’t bad at all.
Rated Sound gives From Her to Eternity by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds a rating of 7/10.
From Her to Eternity (1984) by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Track Listing
2. Cabin Fever!
3. Well of Misery
4. From Her to Eternity
5. Saint Huck
6. Wings off Flies
7. A Box for Black Paul