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Grinderman - Grinderman 2

  by Jon Rogers

published: 11 / 10 / 2010

Grinderman - Grinderman 2
Label: Mute Records
Format: CD


Likeable second album from Nick Cave's jokey other band and blues act, Grinderman, which, however, does not tread very far away from the blueprint of its first album

For a while back there Australian goth-punk rocker Nick Cave was perhaps taking himself far too seriously and getting wrapped up in being Nick Cave. All the breathing of hell fire and redemption and salvation were jettisoned in favour of ballads and a persona of a singer of songs. While perhaps never quite making a bad album he came perilously close. He’d stroked his chin once too often. It took his alternate persona of Grinderman to shake him out of that rut. The quartet, fronted by Cave, dropped those mournful ballads of hearfelt anguish and devotion, took a knowing look at their shaggy beards and thinning hair and decided to have a laugh at themselves. And to make sure they had a good time doing it. Gone was the baggage of being Nick Cave and instead it was middle-aged lothario singer all too aware of his own shortcomings and not afraid to take a knowing smirk at himself. If the Bad Seeds had become somewhat complacent, Grinderman shakes things up to the core and manages to get the heart racing. The basic blues, er, blueprint is there with the band pulling out some apparently improvised guitar histrionics and free-form squalling. When the band are on form, as with the closing ‘Bellringer Blues’ and the opening ‘Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man’, Grinderman are pretty much first amongst equals with their peers. Coming blasting out on a wave of furious energy and creative ingenuity. But ‘Grinderman 2’ is perhaps an appropriate name, it’s Grinderman take two. Nothing much has really changed from the first album and at times songs like ‘Evil’ and ‘Palaces of Montezuma’ simply sound like outtakes from their first outing. ‘Evil’ is not much more than a half-baked idea disguised in squealing guitar noise. So too is ‘Kitchenette’ which sounds rather like a group jam session all spruced up and given a lick of paint. Similarly, ‘Palace of Montezuma’, with a heavy nod to the Rolling Stones’ ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ and William Blake never really gets anywhere. And while the joke just about still stands up for now, just how far can four middle-aged guys take the notion of being aging, leering, predatory males without ending up just like a sad parody and just a bit pathetic. ‘Grinderman 2’ has much to recommend it and there’s lots to hold your attention – especially if you haven’ heard their first one yet – but a lot of the time it is business as usual.

Track Listing:-
1 Mickey Mouse And The Goodbye Man
2 Worm Tamer
3 Heathen Child
4 When My Baby Comes
5 What I Know
6 Evil
7 Kitchenette
8 Palaces Of Montezuma
9 Bellringer Blues

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