This is a very, very strange 3rd album from Nick Cave & the seeds - it is a complete covers album.
Do not let that put you off though, as not a single one of the songs here is done in what you might call a regular or conventional manner.
Featuring songs from writers and artists as diverse as possible, ranging from The Velvet Underground & Nico (All Tomorrows Parties) through Hendrix (Hey Joe) to Roy Orbison (Runnng Scared) and almost everywhere in between. Don't hold any of this against NC&TBS though, as every track is done in their own - one could say "Unique" - style. Until you have heard their version of "The Carnival Is Over", you ain't lived!!
The surround mixes are done very tastefully indeed - not too aggressive but certainly not too shyly either as the rear channels see plenty of discrete action in all the right places. There are no complaints from me about the content either.
As well as the main album (as usual, presented in LPCM stereo, Dolby Digital (for the tiny minority who cannot access DTS streams) and DTS 9624, there are a couple of onus tracks in the form of "Black Betty" (made famous by the American Ram Jam band & written by none other than Leadbelly) and the previously mentioned "Running Scared", a Roy Orbsion track getting a very different rendition here and a video of "The Singer" (aka "The Folksinger") as well as the ongoing documentary series that will be familiar to anyone who also has the superb Depeche Mode series (also on Mute Records) and to cap it all there are a set of pre-diced tracks & videos for portable players too - the documentary, the video & the 2 bonus audio tracks.
Anyone who has any of the Mute series of 5.1 reissues will be well aware of the care & attention that has gone into these titles - this is something that Mute seem to do very well indeed and it really does beg the question "why can the majors not get it as right" - if they need lessons, all they have to do is get a hold of any of the NC&TBS discs, or the Depeche Modes and play all the way through, taking notes all the way as not only is the presentation spot-on, the 5.1 mixes are likewise right on the money with some superb mastering by Simon Heyworth that goes to prove an ME does not need to butcher a perfectly good mix simply to place his own stamp on the record - sometimes all you need to do is match levels across the record & set PQ points. Less is indeed more here.
This is how it is done, and gets a solid & deserved 10 from me - if I had to find one word to sum this up it would have to be "outstanding"
Neil Wilkes sums both the album and the whole series of releases up very nicely indeed. Indeed I'd go on to add that 'sometimes all you need to do is match levels across the record & set PQ points' is possibly the most sensible advice to be found here, should you be a surround engineer or mastering technician browsing the forum for inspiration. I'd also add that the democratisation of the releases allows for the casual listener to delve in wherever they like with no penalty or unwanted trinkets. Rather each modestly priced purchase generously delivers a beautifully engineered release that you'll cherish, if not immediately but with time. You can dip a toe in the water or immerse yourself in the whole lot. Mute are to be commended on every aspect of these thoughtful releases.
I really love covers albums, even Bowie's so this is sheer surround indulgence on almost every level. The DTS 9624 carries the dense drive of the material really well, like the rest, I can crank this up if I really want to sizzle and burn in the magnifying glass spotlight of 'Hey Joe'. 10.