Following the tragic death of his 15 year old son, Arthur, Nick Cave understandably became reluctant to face the media when releasing his 16th album with The Bad Seeds. He instead decided to commission a feature length preview film. Working once again with director Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by The Coward Robert Ford) this largely black and white and occasionally 3D documentary follows rock music’s ‘Prince Of Darkness’ as he attempts to come to terms with what has happened, and articulate how he feels in the best way that he knows how.

Different in many ways to the superb ‘20,000 Days On Earth’ musical biography, it soon becomes clear that this process is extremely uncomfortable for all involved with raw emotion on display from the start. Putting into words the effect that such an event can have on your life is undoubtably impossible, but through this fly-on-the-wall documentary and thoughtfully crafted album, they have created an incredibly moving and beautifully poetic heartfelt tribute to a life that was taken too soon.

Nick curses the director and tries to remember to be nice as he’s asked to retrace his steps for another take, and Bad Seed Warren Ellis wrestles with his emotions while being interviewed on the subject of his best friends loss. Discussions between the pair expose the ethos of this new album – an attempt to let go of the polished and edited studio process of past albums, and to capture a more fluid and improvised performance, which flows straight from the heart.

Nick’s dark narrated tales of old have been replaced, here, by a first hand recollection of the thoughts of a man who has become a stranger to himself. He describes time as feeling elastic, with all events being dragged back to the same moment, and urges us to disbelieve all that we have been told. Warren teases a mesmerising catalogue of sounds from the army of effects pedals and gadgets that he has set up at his feet, while the drummer hits a lazy beat and the guitarists take a step back.

The cinematography is stunning, even when out of focus. Shots of Nick and the tangle of microphone cords reflected off the lid of his grand piano, and the balletic swirl of shapes created by the camera slowly descending a spiral staircase, are on par with the music enough to do it justice. A particularly inspired scene sees the camera and sound slowly focus in on Jim Sclavunos as he plays a sweet tune on his keyboard while wearing headphones, surrounded by the chaotic buzz of a busy recording studio and film crew.

Nicks wife Susie and younger son Earl make an appearance – Earl is handed a camera and asked to take shots for the crew, and the couple discuss the framed photo’s in their house, as well as a painting that Arthur made when he was 5. Susie’s furniture moving antics and interchanges between Nick and Warren offer brief moments of comic relief, endearing us to this group of people and allowing us to empathise more deeply with what they have been through.

“In my heart I need you. Nothing really matters…. we love the ones we can… I need you… nothing really matters anyone”.

One More Time With Feeling is successful in the way that it has taken a dark subject and moulded it into something heartbreaking, fascinating, and stunning to both look at and listen to. A fine balance is maintained throughout, leaving the view both emotionally drained and in awe. The album ‘Skeleton Tree’ uses all the talent and experience at their disposal to channel their love, fears and confusion into an accessible and warm, shimmering masterpiece. In Nick’s own words – could it be that we are all just trying to work out the chords of an improvised song?

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Peter Rea

I like to go see fresh new music at Manchester's superb selection of smaller venues, and then share my enthusiasm.