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Nick Cave & Warren Ellis

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford



Nick Cave's and Warren Ellis' score to The Assassination of Jesse James bears no resemblance to Cave's standard set. Nor is it an Ennio Morricone-esque gallop across a dusky desert plane. As a writer, Cave traditionally constructs narratives and builds characters in songs by incorporating elements of arty punk jams, gospel and spiritually afflicted blues to accentuate his lyrics. Here, Cave and longtime Bad Seed/Grinderman cohort Ellis approach their craft sans words. Sad and ethereal tones culminate in pop-song-length chapters, while a lingering violin, slow guitar sweeps and rainy-day piano melodies embody layers of Jesse James' tormented personality. The hook is the gorgeous and scenic quietude with which Cave and Ellis tell the story of such a captivating character, without uttering a single word. 4 stars

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