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Honoris V – Tribute to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

by François Zappa

The series of tribute albums released by the French label Unknown Pleasures, Honoris, reaches its fifth and last volume, this time dedicated to the legendary Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. After the albums dedicated to Death In June, Bauhaus, The Sisters of Mercy and Christian Death, the composers of Your Funeral…. My Trial are the ones who close this series of tributes. The chosen artists have focused on the late eighties and early nineties era to select their covers, with the exception of “Jubilee Street”, which is from the album, Push the Sky Away from 2013. I understand that, like me, those were the albums that marked these group of musicians. On Honoris V we can find some of the label’s artists like KIŠA, Versari, La Main, Judith Juillerat or Bonnie Trash, some regulars on this kind of albums, like Sébastian Faits Divers, The Married Monk, Swesor Bhrater or Years of Denial and several new names.

As in most albums of this style, the closer musically the tribute artist is to the honoree, the more faithful the version is, that is why the “elecronic artists” are the one who present us with the most original versions. Overall, this new Honoris maintains a balance between fidelity and transgression. As for the tracks, here we find some of the best songs of the Australian genius.

Let’s move on to the album: Peter Milton Walsh and La Féline have the difficult job of stepping into the shoes of Nick Cave and PJ Harvey on the murder ballad “Henry Lee”. Together with SFD they give it a sweeter touch that is emphasized by the strings. Marco Numan focuses on the drama of “The Ship Song” with really good results. The Married Monk make “Stranger than Kindness” stranger and more haunting and give it quite a personal touch. KIŠA prove to be fans with a nice and respectful “Your Funeral My Trial”. Anton Makarov does one of the two versions of “I Let Love It”, his own passionate and gritty. Kiss Me Black take “Loverman” and maintain the fierceness and strength of the original. French post-punk band Versari take on “Brother, My Cup is Empty” and deliver a very dark version with an industrial touch. I quite liked the cover of “The Mercy Seat” by the late eighties band A Wedding Anniversary. Starting from one of their best tracks, perhaps my favorite, they create a dark and desoseyed atmosphere close to the original. Factheory, a French band that has given a lot to talk about lately, do a version of “Jubille Street”, powerful and very intense. I didn’t know SÅLM but here they present us a very original and hypnotic version of “The Mercy Seat”. La Main, creators of the highly recommended L’heure De Salir and La Mélodie Du Sombre have recorded a peculiar electronic version of “The Weeping Song”. Swesor Bhrater also keeps the drama of “I Let Love In” in a more electronic version. Others who do something very original and their own are Years of Denial and their “Stagger Lee” is a very dark version, with heavy and industrial rhythm that is another step forward in the duo’s musical universe. Judith Juillerat takes”The Carny” to her own universe, keeping the darkness of the original, but singing in whispers. Finally Bonnie Thrash takes over “Red Right Hand” with a performance full of mystery. 

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