A sonorous album, rich in orchestration and yet another swerve on the road for The Bad Seeds. This time all is lush and calm, even at it's most emotionally intense we never quite fall back into the abyss that Cave is so fond of. Rather we're gazing at the wretched portal as depicted in a beautiful stained glass window, glowing in a chapel of blinding white with Cave himself manning the pulpit, his dark eyes a blaze with all hell's-fire. His long shadow does cast a pall over the proceedings but being met and matched by the impressively large sounding string arrangements creates a gorgeous contrast, albeit a head-slappingly obvious one. Here Ol' Nick staggers forward to join the senate elect of Walker and Brel, his spindly arms draped around their spectral shoulders as he belts out 'Lucy' at the end and then, as the heavy red velvet curtain falls, we're left to emerge blinking into the hopeful light of those last glorious chords and the soaring harmonica that hovers above them.
The surrounds burst with life at the outset of the album and never really step back from there. Where the instrument sparse earlier albums benefitted from the increased space and depth of reverb driven mixing this one counters with lively placing of snappy percussive claps and choirs or burbling hammonds in the rears. It's hugely satisfying and tonally perfect - turn this one right up for maximum Cave-gospel. Acoustic guitars chime with every string audible, they shimmer and ebb alongside the crisp snares and cymbals without any crowding. Marvel at the alt-universe Bond theme that is 'The Hammer Song' and try not to picture Cave appearing at the end of the iconic titles gun barrel, lurching drunkenly into view, a twisted greasy lock of lank black hair falling across his forehead before suddenly, defiantly, almost elegantly drawing his Walther and bringing the red haze. Cave's vision is lurid, even when it comes packaged so sweetly. 10.
This is my favorite Nick Cave record, and as such it's also my favorite of his 5.1 releases. The album came as he was cleaning up from a long heroin addiction, and the songs are less bleak and aggressive, more subtle than anything that had come before -- but no less menacing. This kicked off a string of great records that he and what is regarded as the classic lineup of The Bad Seeds released over the next decade.
Anyway, as 5.1 mixes go, none of the releases are swirling 360-degree tours de force of the prog-rock variety. Rather, the music is given space to breathe, spread out nicely across the sound field. Having spent more than 20 years with the original stereo mix, to my ears the surround mixes do as intended, providing a new listening experience, filling the room and enveloping the listener in sound, with various elements neatly placed here and there, as noted by the reviewer above.
If you are new to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, this is the place to start.
Even though I believe that this reissues series isn't everything you'd want it to be, I had to have all the 13 parts. No-brainer and no regrets whatsoever.
The Good Son definitely is one of the better albums from the catalogue. The best (and probably the most familiar) songs here would be The Weeping Song and The Ship Song, but more than half of the record contains similarly strong material. Even the three b-sides (all in 5.1, too) are actually solid and definitely no fillers - just make sure you turn them up a little bit, as they're not mastered that hot.
All in all, not the wildest surround mix, but it serves the music absolutely well. Enough for an 8.