Nick Cave cuts a truly formidable figure on Idiot Prayer: Alone at Alexandra Palace

A demonstration of the power of stripped-back simplicity on Idiot Prayer: Nick Cave Alone at Alexandra Palace

Idiot Prayer: Nick Cave Alone at Alexandra Palace album art
(Image: © Bad Seed Ltd)

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This is masterful: a live album and film, recorded at the height of the COVID lockdown in June at London’s iconic Alexandra Palace, streamed globally on July 23. 

Nick Cave alone at a grand piano and with his thoughts, surrounded by a great vat of emptiness and minus his solid musical support, artfully and without ceremony brings in silence and loneliness as a third instrument, and ploughs his way through a back catalogue and newer songs that are littered with remorse and religion and dark humour, always shaped by unyielding events.

The Mercy Seat is stately in a way it’s never been heard before; Galleon Ship near impossible to hear; The Ship Song magnificent and brooding; Girl In Amber bleakly powerful and so human. 

Intense and stripped back, with only his own art to fall back on, Cave cuts a truly formidable figure. This is an album you will return to again and again.

Everett True started life as The Legend!, publishing the fanzine of that name and contributing to NME. Subsequently he wrote for some years for Melody Maker, for whom he wrote seminal pieces about Nirvana and others. He was the co-founder with photographer Steve Gullick of Careless Talk Costs Lives, a deliberately short-lived publication designed to be the antidote to the established UK music magazines.