Skeleton Tree's minimal production and "less polished" sound incorporates elements of alternative rock, electronica and ambient music and features extensive use of synthesisers, drum machines and loops that were previously explored on Push the Sky Away. Several songs on the album utilise avant-garde techniques, including the use of dissonant musical elements and non-standard song structures. Cave's allegorical and often-improvised lyrics have also been noted to be less narrative and character-based than on previous Bad Seeds' albums.
One More Time with Feeling, a documentary film about the aftermath of Cave's son's death and the recording process of Skeleton Tree, accompanied the album's release. Directed by Andrew Dominik, the film received a limited release and was conceived by Cave to explain the context and themes of Skeleton Tree without conducting interviews with the media. Both the film and the album received widespread critical acclaim.
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