When someone really wants to emit an aura of creepiness, they lurk around, glare ominously, mumble about doom and despair and occasionally make passes at members of the opposite sex in awkward but unusual ways.

Now, if someone sits there giggling to themselves and moreso, if they’re giggling with an Australian accent, then they’re not trying to seem creepy, they’re succeeding at being flat-out unnerving.

Whether Nick Cave is truly a whacked-out brother, or whether he’s sophisticated enough to fake number two is more or less and irrelevant question; after all, people who are wholeheartedly into being creepy are creepy for that very reason. The real question is, after the impenetrable kind-of-a-concept album No More Shall We Part, what in the world persuaded him to just chuck it all for a bunch of morbid laughs?

Nocturama starts with vintage late-era Bad Seeds, Martyn Casey and Thomas Wydler’s rhythm work propelling an ambivalent love song out of the realm of depressed-drunk-guy-at-the-piano balladry before slacking off on the next two cuts (which, in fact, sound like an over-orchestrated drunk guy at a piano). But on the fourth track, “Bring It On,” Cave just flat out gives up the ghost of Bruce Springsteen.

Regardless of who is inspiring the fists that once cradled the sad head to pump the air in sweet rock excess (and, honestly, it’s not that hard-rocking, except that it’s a fucking Nick Cave song) the rest of the album has a sort of funny, trashy immediacy that Cave has obviously been keeping inside for too long, culminating in “Babe I’m On Fire”‘s couplets that neatly walk, in Spinal Tap’s words, the fine line between stupid and clever (i.e. rhyming “hernia” with “Guernica”).

And any hopes of boxing in the introspective, grandiose and morbid Cave are once again left disorientingly high and dry by the high priest of creep.

[DJ Fatkid would be more upset if he weren’t under such heavy sedation.]