There’s a simple message at the heart of Ghosteen, the new album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. We hear it over and again through each of the ten songs, but it is only in the record’s penultimate line that it finds its clearest expression: “Everybody is always losing somebody”.
It’s not a radical thought, but one that is entirely appropriate to an album that deals almost exclusively in the familiar. Told in the first person, at its heart the record is the drama of a family lost in the vastness of a universe. In July 2015 Cave’s teenage son Arthur fell to his death from the clifftops near their Brighton home. Skeleton Tree, the band’s previous record, and the accompanying film, One More Time with Feeling, were Cave’s response, a harrowing account of a man staring into the darkness of grief. As its portmanteau title suggests, Ghosteen is a continuation of that story: the darkness abides, but at last the light might start to get in.