Unlike many of his previous releases, Nick Cave opted to stay away from promoting this new release to the media. Written about his son Arthur, who tragically passed away last year, 'Skeleton Tree' instead was previewed by a feature film dubbed 'One More Time With Feeling', in which he not only performed the album in full but also spoke candidly about his grieving process, and how he turned that grief into a creative output.
Not since we relistened to David Bowie's 'Blackstar' have we heard an album with so much emotional baggage attached. While the album doesn't focus entirely on the tragedy, it is always in the back of your mind throughout the record, thanks to the opening ode 'Jesus Alone'. It is clear that Nick Cave has changed as both a person and as an artist in the last year. His direction seems to be lacking in the visceral venom he was once able to command and has now opted for a more sombre and heart-wrenching demeanour.
While it may be a tough listen in places, it has certainly shown the true poet that Nick Cave has always been. 'Skeleton Tree' may be more of a eulogy in theory, but the way he turns true agony and anguish into something as remarkable as this is a process only he could have done.