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Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds | Ghosteen

The grim balladeer walks a landscape of grief on a powerful, loose concept album.

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WHO ARE THEY? The grim, exceptionally literate Australian singer-songwriter and novelist — supported as usual by his talented quintet of likeminded bandmates and musical cronies.

WHAT IS THIS? Their 17th studio album of the last 35 years, their first double album since 2004’s heavy-hitting Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus, a loose concept album about children and parents, and supposedly the final part of a ballad-heavy trilogy with 2013’s Push the Sky Away and 2016’s Skeleton Tree.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Not surprisingly, much like its two predecessors. In other words, plenty of lazily drifting piano ballads and dream-like narratives about family, loss and letting go — hardly surprising given the tragic death of Cave’s teenage son Arthur, who fell from a cliff near their Brighton home in 2015.

WHAT WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ALBUM? The Spirit Moves You.

HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? Respectfully. Generously. Seriously.

WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Haunting, mournful, atmospheric, moving, personal, dignified, swirling, patient, symbolic, intense.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? ‘Songs’ is a pretty cavalier way to describe a 70-minute journey through Cave’s unrelenting landscape of heartbreak and grief.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘I’m not crying; I just have something in both my eyes.’

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? Not often — if only because it’s so emotionally draining.

IF THIS ALBUM WERE A COLOUR, WHAT COLOUR WOULD IT BE? Black.

SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? Streaming will probably be all that you can handle.