Jesus may have raised Lazarus from the dead, but only Nick Cave could recast him as a seedy club rat ready to feast on the bodies of lovely ladies.
The title track of Cave's 14th album riffs off religion to jam on madness. The infectious beats and innocuous melody make it all go down like a spoonful of sugar, even as "Larry" descends from prison to a madhouse to his grave.
Like Tom Waits, Cave populates his music with creepy characters and bizarre events. You can hear it on "Night of the Lotus Eaters," a track defined by three bass notes that tick nervously against a procession of howling sound effects.
Like David Byrne, Cave employs vocals that drip with anxiety and anguish to venture into the absurd. You can hear it on the last verse of "Lazarus," when Cave chants, "I mean he, he never asked to be raised from the tomb."
What Cave does better than anyone since Warren Zevon is to wrap his neuroses in a pop sheen so irresistible that you'll want to program the CD to repeat again and again.
Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! is a musical miracle worth believing in.