For those who are familiar with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' distinguished style, prepare yourself for something quite different. The band's new release is Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! and for the most part, the sound is more energetic and raw than any of their previous albums. The title track is repetitive and punchy, with more of a singsong style than is usual of the group. Although the sound is new, the theme of the song is familiar. As with its previous albums, Cave's lyrics tend to focus on biblical stories or pose questions about God, and the Lazarus in this song is the same man that Jesus supposedly raised from the dead. The lyrics are mostly spoken instead of sung and have a quirky, tongue-in-cheek quality, as in when Cave says, "I mean, he never asked to be raised up from the tomb."
Many of the songs are more guitar- and bass-heavy than Cave's previous work, which was mostly carried by his signature use of a piano and violin, but one song stands out as being a perfect culmination of the group's repertoire of outstanding and emotionally evocative work and this new style. "Hold On to Yourself" is the jewel of the album. In it, Cave trades his piano for an organ and the effect is haunting. Cave is the master of crafting subtly complex compositions that perfectly carry his rough and stirring voice.
The defining feature of this album is Cave's creative decision with instruments. The band is comprised of eight musicians, and together they make up an impressive 20-instrument range of sound. For this album, though, Cave tested the talent of his band by switching everyone's instruments around, expanding the group's knowledge of music and successfully producing an album that has been short-listed for the prestigious Mojo Honours List.