Review : Grinderman - Grinderman 2
PitchforkWhat is it about dirty old men, anyway? In 2007, Nick Cave gave up the ghost of youth, declaring an out-and-out midlife crisis with Grinderman, a brilliant, crude, stripped-down quartet. Made up of members of his Bad Seeds, the nascent group's self-titled debut was naked about its grotesqueries, as Cave futzed with a guitar for the first time, wailed about the "No Pussy Blues", and sucked in his gut with hopes of getting laid.
It was an inspired late-career move for the then 50-year-old, invigorating and recalibrating the piano-affixed, doom-saying troubadour. Critics fell over themselves proclaiming the return of the former Birthday Party frontman's skuzzy side. A year later you could hear the punk reverberations in 2008's Bad Seeds album, Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! But Grinderman, though fierce and often hilarious, weren't exactly a great band. Young bands-- no matter how old-- have to learn new tricks, and this one had to find interesting ways to be messy. Grinderman 2 is a sequel of sorts, but mostly an improvement. The band has widened their sound and sexual pursuits, but also poked around at the edges of decrepitude. What does life look like on the other side of crisis?
Well, it's schizophrenic and sloppy. Those feral urges are still there; consider the album cover's lupine avatar. But Cave and the band-- who typically improvise structure and lyrics-- have kept the themes consistent across nine songs. And they're not terribly different from what interests him on albums with the Bad Seeds: God, Death, and America are gospel. But sexual filialness-- Cave seems to be calling himself "Daddy" and yowling at his child-lover a lot here-- takes an uncomfortable precedence. "Worm Tamer" and "Heathen Child" are almost comically lascivious. "I stick my fingers in your biscuit jar/ And crush all your gingerbread men," he moans, aping Howlin' Wolf on "Kitchenette", one of the album's best songs. And later, "What has that husband of yours ever given to you?/ Oprah Winfrey on a plasma screen." That's a great line, the sort of insinuating thing that might get Cave into bed with a frustrated housewife, but it's also miserably desperate, self-deprecating stuff....full text
GuardianOn the eve of the recent Australian election, MySpace held a poll asking voters which native singer they would most like to see running the country. Surprisingly, Nick Cave came in first, ahead of such national treasures as Kylie and Dame Edna Everage. That Cave could even place highly in this kind of frivolous mass-market jape, let alone win, is a sign of just how things have changed over the course of his 30-year career.
Buy it from
Buy the CD
Download as MP3
Chary of being pigeonholed, for years he fought against being cast as gloomy and heroin-fuelled, with songs seemingly as black as his clothes. But more recently, the 52-year-old Brighton resident has been keen to avoid another over-simplification, that of middle-aged respectability, especially now that he's enforcing a famously strict 9 to 5, five days a week work regime to crank out novels, film scripts and soundtracks as well as albums.
Cave has toyed with the idea that he might soon be over the hill via his own merchandise, which includes a cheeky twist on that classic symbol of domesticity, the tea towel – adorned with a simple gun motif to take one's mind off dish-drying tedium.
That Cave has never taken himself as seriously as people think is equally clear from Grinderman. Featuring several of his backing band the Bad Seeds, what began in 2006 as a looser, noisier release from the day job is now too good to be dismissed as a side project. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds exist largely to serve the boss's songwriting prowess but in Grinderman the tunes emerge during more free-form studio sessions, with the words polished afterwards.
The results have proved invigorating, the seedy blues-punk of the band's self-titled debut even partly resurrecting the lizard-brained persona Cave left behind in the early 80s following the collapse of the Bad Seeds' wayward predecessors, the Birthday Party. Addressing the notion of older musicians being chiefly concerned with the masculine midlife crisis, Grinderman's take on the fragility of the male psyche is best summarised by the first record's brilliant sleeve: a snapshot of a rather worried-looking monkey, paws cupped defensively around its genitals....full text
NmeGrinderman’s 2007 debut was the funny and frustrated tale of a set of characters beset by a catastrophic inability to get laid. Three years later, a continuing sexual impasse has twisted their snappy garage blues into testosterone-addled, thick-browed rock and lurching psychedelia. In ‘Grinderman 2’ Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Martyn P Casey and Jim Sclavunos have ejaculated a curious and rowdy record that, in a world of po-faced drips, revels in mischief.
The notion that Nick Cave is a misanthropic cove who sits in some dank mansion smoking laudanum through a vulture’s thigh bone has long been discounted, not due to his being spotted waving a giant polystyrene hand at a Brighton musical, but because Grinderman are hellish fun. The video for ‘Heathen Child’, which features the band dressed in gladiatorial outfits that reveal drummer Sclavunos’ arse, is evidence enough that this isn’t the sort of joyless trad-rock side project intended to cosy up to Jools Holland.
Fecund musicality is the key to ‘Grinderman 2’, the stained sheets upon which Cave’s lascivious words thrash. On ‘Evil’, Cave wails imploringly to a woman “in this rented room” over Warren Ellis’ guitar, which squeals and howls like the animals of the Ark undergoing brutal torture. In ‘Kitchenette’, Cave tries to prize the object of his affections from her current flame: “What’s this husband of yours ever given to you? Oprah Winfrey on a plasma screen?”, while ‘Worm Tamer’ features the finest lyric of 2010: “My baby calls me the Loch Ness monster/Two great big humps and then I’m gone”. The devil be praised that, rather than visiting the shrink or brothel to deal with his sexual dysfunction, the Grinderman went to the studio instead....full text
Grinderman Album Reviews
Sweetslyrics Top 20 Artists
Who do you like?