Mute – 2001 – 67 minutes

'No More Shall We Part' is Nick Cave's first, long awaited studio excursion since 1997's superb 'The Boatman's Call'. Unfortunately it never really amounts to the sum of its parts. And those parts are indeed great – Cave himself, a scattering of songs written on a grand piano, the Bad Seeds together again and the sweet-voiced harmonies of folk singers, Kate and Anna McGarrigle – yet, despite everything, you feel obscurely let down when it comes to an end.

Cave is still obsessed with biblical themes of sin and redemption, loss and love but he also reveals a more domestic side in As I Sat Sadly By Her Side and Oh My Lord. Although the album has its share of what Cave calls his 'little dark-eyed children', the love songs that stand alone, they reflect his newfound personal tranquillity rather than the torture of unrequited lusts. Standing out from the rest of the album is the simple plea of Love Letter "Come back to me/O baby please come back to me" but there's nothing of the magnitude of Into My Arms, or Nobody's Baby Now. It is also telling that Love Letter was written several years before most of the other material on 'No More…'. Sweetheart Come, another of the love songs it seems Cave will never manage to entirely purge from his system, allows the mournful beauty of Warren Ellis' violin to soar amidst the pure voices of the McGarrigles, glorious counterpoint to his sonorous tones. Although no longer as angry as he once was, Cave cannot let corruption pass unnoticed, condemning "Goose-stepping twelve-stepping tetotalitarianists" in God Is In the House, "Amateurs, dilettantes, hacks, cowboys, clones" in Darker with the Day.

Still a law unto himself with his archaic word structure and classical schooling, Nick Cave remains a dark maverick to be treasured in an increasingly commercial and morally bankrupt industry.

Caroline Hennessy

Tracklisting: As I Sat Sadly By Her Side - And No More Shall We Part – Hallelujah - Love Letter - Fifteen Feet Of Pure White Snow - God Is In The House - Oh My Lord - Sweetheart Come - The Sorrowful Wife - We Came Along This Road - Gates To The Garden - Darker With The Day