Nick Cave / Shane MacGowan

What a Wonderful World

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Few split EPs have the feel of a group effort, but this collaboration between Nick Cave and Shane MacGowan (with Cave's Bad Seeds serving as the backing band) is a wonderful effort that effortlessly combines the talents of both artists. On the title track, Cave's sad croon and MacGowan's slurred moan bring a lazy, comforting touch to the Louis Armstrong standard. It is this shuffling feel that looms over the rest of the EP, which consists of the two artists covering each other's songs. Cave's version of "Rainy Night in Soho" is drenched with his gloomy, heroin-addled howl. But his sad voice is what makes his rendition of MacGowan's Irish ballad almost as good as the original. Likewise, hearing Shane MacGowan drunkenly belt out "Lucy" makes it that much more touching. The song feels more like '70s Tom Waits, giving it a slight (but necessary) twist from its original incarnation. Fans of both artists will probably really enjoy this EP, while even those curious about the two artists could easily start their exposure here on this inexpensive delight.

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