Various Artists

Nick Cave: Heard Them Here First

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Nick Cave never treated his influences like a secret. He's covered his favorite songs on record and in concert, leaving an easily traceable trail that was partially reconstructed on Ace's 2015 collection Nick Cave: Heard Them Here First. Opening with the Stooges' "Fun House," a statement of purpose for both Iggy Pop and Cave's first band the Birthday Party, the 22-track collection winds up taking stylistic left turns that never seem like a surprise: on paper, it may appear jarring to segue from the Stooges into Nina Simone or Leonard Cohen into Peter Cook & Dudley Moore's timeless trifle "Bedazzled," but the serious and the ephemeral conjoin in Cave's original material, so these switches of pace seem natural. True, the selections are so idiosyncratic they require some knowledge of Nick Cave to make sense as a whole, but that's also the good thing about the compilation: it manages to conjure Cave's original voice through the work of other artists.

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