Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are one of the most exhilarating and compelling bands making music today, but you already knew that, right? It's hard to find any unused superlatives to describe the band and their back catalogue, such is the strength of every album released and the reputation and popularity of the band and their albums.

Do we really need to find new words to describe this band and its albums though? Sometimes, when it comes to albums in a back catalogue, it's cool to just sit back and discuss how incredible an album is. It may have been said before, but hey, if an album's that good the same things will always be said about it. Hello, Let Love In.

I'm comfortable stating that I think Let Love In is one of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds' best albums. Not favourite, but best. It can hold its own with Your Funeral...My Trial, Murder Ballads and The Boatman's Call quite admirably, in fact, more than quite admirably. In hindsight Let Love In is one of those albums that represents a turning point, it seems to be the culmination of a journey the band were on in the two to three albums preceding it and a pointer to the direction the band were going to go in on later albums. Granted, Cave's lyrics were always story driven and descriptive but there's more of a focus on that on Let Love In, although that could be more apparent due to the more concise and stripped back instrumentation, the avant-garde nature to the earlier albums being slowly phased out over the course of Tender Prey, The Good Son and Henry's Dream. There's more space for Cave to completely own centre-stage, there isn't as much striking music to take the listener's attention away, and it's safe to say there's more of a complimentary feel to both the lyrics and the music, they exist perfectly together. Back to that future direction point, it's telling that the following album, Murder Ballads, was essentially an album of 10 Nick Cave short stories and my feeling is that's because of Let Love In's influence.

My favourite aspect of Let Love In, and I do hope this makes sense, isn't the lyrics, the music or Cave's ever-improving vocals, it's the central theme to the album: Love. True, this theme is contained in the lyrics but there's a separation, take that central, unifying theme away and the lyrics are just that, lyrics. Listening to the album with that theme in mind enhances every little detail on the album: the lyrics make even more sense and there's more of a mood conveyed by the music. It's an example of an album title picked perfectly to give the listener an indication of what's coming up. A particular highlight of Let Love In and that central theme is the way it covers so many different facets of love: elation, jubilation, heartbreak, despair, lust, attachment and obsession. There's so many different sub-emotions at play, so many wide-ranging feelings on offer the band has the potential to be diverse in its instrumentation and Cave has the opportunity to get to work and really flex his lyrical and emotional muscles. Again, that central theme affords so many opportunities.

The instrumentation on Let Love In is used to devastating effect on more than one occasion, in fact it's fair to say it pushes the listener towards feeling or at least empathising with the feelings Cave was presumably aiming for when he wrote the songs. The doom and gloom of 'Do You Love Me?' put the listener in the despairing state of mind one feels when facing the prospect of unrequited love, there's a lustful feeling to the verses in 'Loverman' as it creeps along sultrily to a pretty frantic chorus which seems to encapsulate that all-encompassing obsessive feeling love can give. 'Nobody's Baby Now' is, for me, the centrepiece of the album. Yeah, 'Red Right Hand' is on there and it's the popular choice that everyman and his dog knows but when considering the theme of Let Love In, 'Nobody's Baby Now' is the one.

Cave's lyrics could be mistaken for a heart gushing out all its contents, the man spares no hyperbole when describing that pure elation when one is in love. His use of massively important and popular books and terms places love on a pedestal, suggesting just how important that one emotion is to humanity. In wonderful Nick Cave style we're left with ambiguity as to the whereabouts of this girl; is she dead, did she end it with Cave? Are we meant to feel sorrow or focus solely on the good times and feel lucky they happened? Are those positive, jubilant lyrics in the verse a smokescreen? It's a fantastic lyrical twist that keeps the listener guessing while summing up there's more than one side to love as a feeling. Of course, the music doesn't stray too far from that 'happy' path for the duration although it does hint at a sense of longing, further highlighting that ambiguity in the lyrics. In short, it's all a bit wonderful.

It's a pretty hefty title to throw around, 'The Best Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Album', there's certainly enough of them to stake a claim to it. I do think though that Let Love In is really, really deserving of that. It takes what appears to be a simple theme, shatters that 'simple' theme into pieces, exposes the complex nature and proceeds to analyse those exposed facets. Lyrically, Cave is on particularly top form while the rest of the band is getting to grips with that big, ensemble sound that really came to the fore on Henry's Dream. It's an engrossing and evocative album which has stood the test of the time. And I used a few too many superlatives in that, didn't I.

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds' Let Love In was released on April 18th 1994 via Mute Records.