“THIS RELEASE is designed to be a way into three decades of music making...the songs we have chosen are the ones that have stuck around, for whatever reason. Some songs are those that demand to be played live. Others are lesser songs that are personal favourites of ours."
So said Nick Cave of Lovely Creatures, compiled by himself and Mick Harvey, and really there is no better one-stop introduction to the words and music of one of the most singular talents to emerge from Australia, or indeed from anywhere, in the last 35 years.
Cave's music is epic, dark, gothic, romantic, torn between belief and scepticism - in God, in people - yet determined never to be crushed, always striving for some glimpse of light, determined to offer an arm to cling on to, or just fascinated to observe how people struggle with existence.
It's all here - from the sweeping majesty of 'Jubilee Street'; to the surprising ballad with Kylie Minogue, 'Where The Wild Roses Grow'; to the intense, thrilling, 'The Mercy Seat'; the sinister, yet compelling 'Red Right Hand'; the surreal poetry of 'Higs Boson Blues; and of course, his two finest love songs - the shattering 'Into My Arms' and the uplifting 'Straight To You'. The distillation of Cave's brilliance. Wonderful.