Reduced to a quartet for the most part, with Barry Adamson joining Nick Cave, Blixa Bargeld, Mick Harvey and Thomas Wydler on only a couple of tracks, the Bad Seeds turn from the interpretive triumph of Kicking Against the Pricks to another strong high, the mostly-original Your Funeral...My Trial. The one cover is a sharp, unsurprisingly dramatic version of Tim Rose's "Long Time Man." As for the rest of the album, Trial shows the Seeds working as, again, a remarkably accomplished and varied act, ever available and ready to explore a wide range of musics distilled into Cave's often dark, always passionate vision. Arguably Cave and company have by now so clearly established their overall style that Your Funeral...My Trial is much more a refinement of the past than anything else, but so good is their work that resistance is near impossible. If anything, the brooding power of the Seeds is more restrained than ever, suggesting destructive endings and overwhelming love without directly playing it. Songs like "Jacks Shadow" and the gentler but still melancholy moods of "Sad Waters," detailing a riverside scene between a couple, are simply grand. The opening title track sets the mood well, Cave handling not merely vocals but Hammond organ, adding a strangely sweet air to the late-night atmosphere of the piece. "The Carny" is a definite highlight, the cracked music-box/carnival accompaniment courtesy of Harvey utterly appropriate for Cave's tale of a circus gone horribly wrong in ways Edward Gorey would appreciate. "Hard On for Love," as the title pretty clearly gives away, is at once sensual and blunt right down to the lyrics, Biblical references and all, as the feverish music rises in a tide of emotion.
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett