Grinderman - Grinderman 2 - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Grinderman - Grinderman 2

by Andy Brown Rating:8.5 Release Date:2010-09-13

It's been a few years since Nick Cave first howled that he had the 'No Pussy Blues' and demanded that we 'Get It On', and so it's with a genuine sense of excitement and anticipation that I listened to Grinderman 2. You're probably already familiar with lead single 'Heathen Child' with it's untamed guitar, ridiculous video and cries of "here come the wolfman". It's one of the most immediate and satisfying tracks here and perhaps the closest thing to anything on the first Grinderman album. Like the first album, Grinderman 2 packs a hefty sonic punch but, overall, it's a more diverse and frankly odd affair. The first album combined The Stooges, sexual angst, explosive introductions and concepts of masculinity into 40 minutes of stripped down, joyous rock 'n' roll debauchery - it would have been easy for them to repeat this mix and most would have been happy. Grinderman 2 is pretty different, however.

First off, we have 'Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man'. After a few seconds of subdued blues guitar, we're greeted by Jim Sclavunos' mighty drums and a driving bass line. Before you know it, Nick's howling like a wolf and singing "...and we sucked her, we sucked her dry". It's a great opener and, while not being the obvious call to arms that 'Get It On' was, it still has the desired effect. Next up, there's the horror soundtrack squall of 'Worm Tamer'. A claustrophobic, tense track with Nick's trademark romantic lyrics: "and you know I'm only happy when I'm inside her". We're a long way from 'The Boatman's Call'...

After the sexual shuffle of 'Heathen Child', we're led further into the dark woods with 'When My Baby Comes'. The track starts with Tom Waits-esque percussion, leading to a surprisingly tender chorus as Nick croons "Just how long you gonna be my baby?" over Warren Ellis' mournful violin. Then, about halfway into the track, the bottom drops out and you're left floating through a shimmering, psychedelic mix complete with sinister falsetto vocals and an awesome stoner-rock bass line. It's pretty impressive and quite possibly the finest track here. Things quiet down momentarily with 'What I Know', a relatively straightforward ballad with a simple acoustic guitar and a crackling backing track surprisingly reminiscent of Sparklehorse. Then, as if to compensate for showing a softer side, we get the raucous 'Evil', with Cave crooning "baby, baby, baby" like Robert Plant's gothic post-punk brother. It's a definite highlight, if only for those wonderful backing vocals that chant the song's title.

'Kitchenette' is kind of like 'Electric Alice' on the first album with it's seductive Doors-esque strut, while 'Palaces of Montezuma' is a sprightly, optimistic sounding ballad: "Come on baby let's get outta the cold". It's certainly not something I expected to be saying about a Grinderman track, but it's a genuinely sweet and lovely song. Again, in the interests of balance, 'Bellringer Blues' starts with a kind of fucked psychedilia - a soaring guitar, loops and a Bad Seeds sounding organ leading us into Grindermans darker places. It's the kind of track that sounds all the more impressive on headphones, with so many sounds crammed into it's five minutes.

Grinderman 2 may lack some of the immediacy of their first album and there's nothing quite as jaw dropping as 'No Pussy Blues', yet overall it's a reassuringly brilliant second outing. There's an infectious sense of joyful experimentalism running through this album, it's players still on top of their game and clearly enjoying themselves. Grinderman 2 is a whole lotta fun to listen to as well...

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