News: The iconic Mick Harvey (The Birthday Party, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds) announces new solo album ‘Five Ways to Say Goodbye’ with delicious single ‘When We Were Beautiful & Young’ as an early taste.

Feature Photograph: Matthew Ellery

Mick Harvey, founding member of seminal and legendary bands, The Birthday Party and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, has made a profound and lasting contribution to indie music. His ability to write and co-write some of the classic songs of these bands have only been matched by his cool and collective demeanour – a steadfast hand at the tiller in bands containing the most explosive personalities (Tracy Pew, Rowland S Howard and of course Nick Cave). Since leaving Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Harvey has not been idle – releasing solo albums (including a luminescent Gainsbourg series), writing screen music,  collaborating with Amanda Acevedo and playing live.

Harvey has announced his first solo album in years entitled ‘Five Ways to Say Goodbye’ and tempted us with the statuesque and imperious single ‘When We Were Beautiful & Young’. The track is ethereal and haunting – a powerful reflection of the past delivered with moving grace and presence. The arrangements recall something from Burt Bacharach or Jimmy Webb with a touch of Tindersticks: dramatic and melodic, the lyrics evocative and reflective. Weeping, sweeping strings augment the dramatic scenery.

Sparkling like a star in the firmament, it is backed with a poignant video painting a journey through highlights of a career that began nearly 50 years ago in Melbourne:

With gems like this, Harvey’s music is still beautiful and young. This follows earlier single ‘A Suitcase in Berlin (reviewed by me here)

The new 12-track collection, out on Mute on 10 May 2024, will include original compositions alongside tracks written by artists as varied as Ed Kuepper (co-founder of The Saints), Fatal Shore (Phil Shoenfelt and Bruno Adams), David McComb (The Triffids / Blackeyed Susans), Lo Carmen and Lee Hazelwood. 

Across the album, Harvey creates a coherent mood between other people’s songs and his own, as though they are all part of the same lineage and interconnected sonic world. As such, these re-workings go far beyond functioning as simple cover versions.

I don’t think cover is appropriate terminology. It’s not a copy. To my mind it’s more in the traditional of how songs used to be, where they would mutate and you’d end up with lots of different versions. One is really just passing the music on and sharing the songs further.

The album features ‘A Suitcase in Berlin’ – originally released in early 2023 with artwork that nods to the new album – a translation and reworking of Marlene Dietrich’s 1950s ode to Berlin, ‘Ich Hab’ Noch Einen Koffer in Berlin’. Harvey says:

(The album) is kind of about farewells or saying goodbye. There’s a lot around that subject so it’s got a kind of melancholy and sentimentality around it. A lot of the songs are by people who have moved on.

You can pre-order here or through the link below.

Harvey will also be undertaking an UK/European tour – details and tickets below.

16 May – Valencia (ES), 16 Toneladas

17 May – Barcelona (ES), Sidecar

18 May – Madrid (ES), Sala el Sol

26 May – London (UK), Omeara

29 May – Coimbra (PT), Nereida in Jardim de Sereia (free concert)

30 May – Leiria (PT), Teatro José Lúcio Da Silva

1 June – Espinho (PT), Auditório de Espinho

7 June – Milan (IT), Arci Bellezza

8 June – Brno (CZ), Mersey Gathering

More dates to be added, latest ticket links can be found HERE

Feature Photograph: Matthew Ellery

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