Vinyl album artwork for Idiot Prayer by Nick CaveDescribed by Cave as “… a prayer into the void… a souvenir from a strange and precarious moment in history”, Idiot Prayer… evolved from the Conversations With Nick Cave events during which he performed reimagined, stripped-back piano versions of his songs.

It was initially envisioned as a one-off streaming event, but an extended cut of Idiot Prayer... – containing four additional songs – screens in cinemas globally this month (followed by this double-album soundtrack release).

This sublime 22-track collection comprises songs spanning from 1986 right through to now, thanks to Cave’s sorrow-stricken new offering, Euthanasia (“I look for you underneath the damp earth/ I look for you in the night sky”). Cave chuckles after hitting a clanger at the very end of (Are You) The One That I’ve Been Waiting For? – an endearing, human moment, before we’re struck down by raw emotion as his upper register strains during Waiting For You‘s choruses.

Cave played a Fazioli piano for the first time during this solo show, extolling via The Red Hand Files website, “It whispered to me. It roared at me. It was the most beautiful instrument I had ever played,” and he performs The Mercy Seat‘s startling fortissimo stabs with relish.

Evocative lyricism pulls focus within these arrangements (particularly during murderous whorehouse stomper Papa Won’t Leave You, Henry) and Palaces Of Montezuma (“The spinal cord of JFK wrapped in Marilyn Monroe’s negligee”) makes us ache for ‘Grinderman 3’, which Cave has never actually ruled out.

Idiot Prayer: Nick Cave Alone at Alexandra Palace is available on vinyl on November 20, via Inertia.

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