Mute - 2003 - 56 minutes

It's a sobering thought that as we struggled to get through each morning's emails, Nick Cave sat in his office and wrote these songs. And then recorded them in seven days. Thankfully, there's enough here to make you smile as well as cry.

Continuing with some of the lush sweeps from 2001's 'No More Shall We Part' - but recruiting former Birthday Party producer Nick Launay - 'Nocturama' splits itself between the quiet nights in and the noisy ones out. But it's on the latter that it really comes alive.

The opening trio find Cave as the tenderest of prey but 'Bring it On' and 'Dead Man in My Bed' - the two songs which follow them - and closer 'Babe, I'm on Fire' leave you wishing that the rock outs would never end. Elsewhere, it's strong but not standout and might just have you thinking that what were two halves of great albums have been rolled into one good one.

Cave apparently wants to turnaround two records in the next two years, if 'Nocturama' is the primer for one that breaks hearts and another that breaks strings, it could grow in greatness.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Wonderful Life - He Wants You - Right Out of Your Hand - Bring It On - Dead Man in My Bed - Still in Love - There is a Town - Rock of Gibraltar - She Passed By My Window - Babe, I'm on Fire