The long-faced uber overlord of populist doom rock is fast becoming a veritable national treasure. He is Australian, yet the UK has taken the ex-junkie to their bosom with aplomb. It is quite a recent development, starting with Abbatoir Blues/Lyre of Orpheus and gathering rapid momentum with the chart conquering, barn-storming Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! LP of last year. Released in March, he only stopped glorying in its success in November with two sell out shows at the grand reopened Troxy in London's grimy side of Limehouse.
Now, a lot of his fans, his true fans, fans who have been with him since the scuzzed up, fucked up days of the nihilist Birthday Party, through the God fearing, revenge wreaking of his early bad Seeds albums 'From Her To Eternity', 'Your Funeral, My Trial', et al. claim that he has sold out with proper tunes and soppy-arsed ballads. Fortunately, I only got Nick around the Murder Ballads album so I am not one of these people. To be honest he scared my pants off before that. When he would gaze out, all ivory faced and blank from my cherished NME I would quickly flick to a comforting piece on Carter USM or something to take my mind off him.
Surely for those 'fans' he is trying to appease all comers with his side-project Grinderman, being the unsatiable workaholic that he is. Nowadays I own every single studio album he has released and immerse myself totally in his genius. His music has taken me back to the folk music of the 1920's where he has taken so much inspiration. The man is a walking reference book of the last century and of the ancient worlds of Greece and mythology. A poet up there with Cohen and Dylan, some say and I agree. I look up the references he alludes to. never happy to rest on a traditional structure of writing, he will put it all in and then with the help of the latest Bad Seeds take out the crap.
A decade and a bit love affair with heroin has not destroyed the man, it has enhanced him and he can look back at an astonishing catalogue written in the depths of addiction and come out the other side with a family of four boys and a loyal wife and write songs more in keeping with this new routine. It is a natural progression. Selling out is a lazy way of saying that the guy has moved forward in a career of thirty years. People grow up. Some don't, like Mark.E.Smith, and he still writes the same kind of stuff. And that's fine too. Just as long as what you are saying is still vital and original it doesn't really matter does it?