Grinderman
Grinderman 2


4.5
superb

Review

by Cubert99 USER (6 Reviews)
September 17th, 2010 | 24 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Grinderman gone soft? Well, not exactly...

Let's get this out of the way: Grinderman 2 is very good. It is perhaps even better than that, but for some its overall quality will ultimately be its downfall. Why? Because Grinderman, the 2007 debut album from the band of the same name, was good precisely because it had absolutely no desire to be.

In 2006, Nick Cave - leader of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - dragged three of his bands six members away (specifically Warren Ellis, Martyn P. Casey and Jim Sclavunos) to tap into something more sonically primal. The resulting album, under new moniker Grinderman, was a different beast from the precise, diverse, dark-pop stylings of The Bad Seeds. Instead, it showed four musicians revelling in not playing their instruments properly, something most evident on its lead single 'No Pussy Blues', with its ear-splitting, completely scattershot blasts of wah-wah guitar hammering through the song like a blunt knife. Of course, this was a facade; after their many years of song craft, Nick Cave & Co can't help but write a tune, no matter how seemingly unlistenable, and Grinderman's catchier pleasures became more and more apparent with each further listen.

Three years and another Bad Seeds album later, Grinderman return to pick up where they left off with Grinderman 2, and the first thing to take note of is that its not quite the primal beast the first album was. First cut 'Mickey Mouse and The Goodbye Man' does its best to convince otherwise, with its tense bursts of abrasive choruses shot through with brooding, haunting verses set to Cave recounting a murder in a hotel room. With such a thick application of fuzzy guitars and lyrics like 'We took shelter under her body/And we sucked her dry', Grinderman 2 hardly marks the band going pop. However, beyond the initial abrasion of the first few tracks it becomes clear that this second outing wears Cave's natural instincts for epic melody on its sleeves far more brazenly than before. The fourth track, 'When My Baby Comes', is a nigh on 7 minute mirror image of itself - the first half nervously jolting through an oddly beautiful de-tuned violin melody, whilst the second raptures on building layers of majestic orchestration before rumbling into an expansive, stoner-rock swagger that is as dark as it is anthemic. As the song climaxes a backing vocal melody swells, repeating hypnotically until the song fizzles out after a gnarled reprise. 'Love Bomb' this ain’t.

The reason I describe this track so exhaustively is not only because it's fantastic, but because it best encapsulates where this album lies in relation to the band's first. Grinderman 2 is the same Grinderman that was snarling and thrusting three years ago, but with added scope and diversity. The disturbingly timid ‘What I Know’ alone is enough evidence of this; comprising solely of Cave’s contemplative crooning over muted acoustic guitar and kick drum. Or how about the surprisingly delightful 'Palaces of Montezuma', all bouncing along on optimistic bass lines and tambourines to sordid promises of giving the object of his desires 'the spinal cord of JFK wrapped in Marilyn Monroe's negligee'. Such morbidly humourous lyrics ensure that the song still sees Grinderman tapping into the kinds of themes they do best, but musically it's as close to a Bad Seeds song as they will probably ever dare to go.

This is not to suggest, of course, that it isn't all utterly brilliant, but therein lies the crux of Grinderman 2: If you are willing to accept the changes, you will find a leaner, tighter band with an added ear for harmony and broad, epic song-writing. They are still unmistakably noisy, ensuring that the raucous 'Evil' and the wailing guitar sirens of 'Heathen Child' both have the ability to deafen in the most pleasurable way possible. But as the shimmering synths and psychedelic, Hendrix-tinged guitars of 'Bellringer Blues' send out the album on an almighty high, it's clear that Grinderman are aiming to go somewhere greater this time around, and they get there on more than one occasion. That might be a place many fans of the first album's primal noise wont care to visit, but for me at least, this must be the album of the year.



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user ratings (119)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
josephbh1 (4.5)
......

Andrew H. EMERITUS (4)
Grinderman take themselves seriously and make a far more sophisticated record than their debut....

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Grinderman

Comments:Add a Comment 
foreverendeared
September 17th 2010


14678 Comments


Really good review

greg84
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2010


7421 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Excellent review! I prefer their first to this one though.

Digging: Dope Body - Lifer

Kiran
Emeritus
September 17th 2010


6001 Comments


i've been seeing this everywhere recently but haven't paid any attention to it, so reading this and discovering it's nick cave is a very pleasant surprise

excellent review too

Meatplow
September 17th 2010


5524 Comments


should get both these Grinderman albums, I heard No Pussy Blues and it was fantastic

thebhoy
Emeritus
September 17th 2010


4461 Comments


ahhh I need to get this and new Deerhunter and new Superchunk and ahhh so much.

rainonmyparade
September 17th 2010


40 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album rules, love "Worm Tamer." Nick Cave is gonna be making music until he dies.

Jim
September 17th 2010


5110 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i heard heathen child on the radio and liked what i heard.

AnvilJ
September 17th 2010


124 Comments


Like what I hear about how this album is different from the first one which I thought was lacking something (although I will admit I never tried especially hard either).

greg84
Staff Reviewer
September 18th 2010


7421 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The first one was more ballsy, hard-edged and uncompromising. This one feels like they combined the
style of their debut with The Bad Seeds-type of songwriting.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
September 18th 2010


3773 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Mm, this is just wonderfully filthy rock n' roll. The album art is so damn awesome as well - better than the first cover, which is what I think made me not listen to it. I will now.

PS. Great review too.

Digging: The Flaming Lips - With A Little Help From My Fwends

tomwaits4noman
September 24th 2010


91 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Other than "What I Know" which is filler, this is a great album almost as good as the first one, Heathen Child is great.

control
September 25th 2010


1 Comments


Amazing

qwe3
September 27th 2010


21366 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

will listen to this

Mendigo
September 28th 2010


2299 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this review kicks major ass.
the album too, obviously

porch
October 15th 2010


8459 Comments


prefer the first album but this is still great

Powerbanned
October 15th 2010


39 Comments


Heathen Child possibly has the best music video in existence. it's full of wtf. see for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKznZUtKntg

greg84
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2010


7421 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

We've seen it and we appreciate its awesomness.

Pilgrim
October 16th 2010


6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Album of the year for me.

Good Review

qwe3
October 19th 2010


21366 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

holy shit this rules

caprio4us
October 20th 2010


182 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

i get up of the bed with it, such an energetic sounds

Digging: Jamie xx - Girl/Sleep Sound



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