Grinderman - Grinderman 2
The current record industry trend towards major artists releasing and promoting new albums every two or three years is not the kind of schedule that suits the workaholic tendencies the godfather of doom and gloom, Nick Cave. To fill the gaps between Bad Seeds albums he writes books, composes soundtracks, undertakes solo acoustic tours and, in 2007, unleashed upon the garage rock monster that is Grinderman. Their self-titled debut had the feel of a group of teenagers being let loose in a studio and told to do exactly what they wanted with no consequences. The result was a loose, sleazy but slightly throwaway album that, fun though it is, doesn’t linger long in the memory.
Now they are back with the imaginatively titled Grinderman 2 and it is clear that Cave & the boys have taken things a lot more seriously this time round. The result is nothing short of stunning. The gentle opening to ‘Mickey Mouse And The Goodbye Man’ soon explodes in to a cacophony of wailing guitars, heavy drums and lascivious lyrics that leave you breathless for more. ‘Worm Tamer’ and lead off single ‘Heathen Child’ continue in the same gloriously rambunctious and raucous vein that you can’t help but revel in Cave’s playful wordplay that provide a stark counterpoint to some of the Bad Seeds more sombre outings. ‘When My Baby Comes’ and the stoner rock of ‘What I Know’ calm things down a tad but, just as you are starting to chill out, the hard edged jolt of ‘Evil’ comes at you like an electric eel on acid. ‘Palaces of Montezuma’, with it’s bonkers but genuinely witty lyrics, has a delivery that is the only point on the album here you are reminded of Cave’s “day job”. That jolts you in to the realisation that, with some tender love and nurturing , Grinderman could challenge the Bad Seeds supremacy.
The fuzzed up psychedelia of closer ‘Bellringer Blues’ leaves you with particularly apt closing line “We are the sole survivors”. This leaves you wondering just how is it possible that a bunch of men closer to pension age than their rebellious teenage years have managed to produce an album of such astonishing power and poise that is light years ahead of the competition? The simple answer is “Who cares?” Grinderman 2, album of the year. No question.