The first album from Grinderman was a bit of a sordid affair, with Nick Cave going a bit more primal than usual, even for him, and ragged, rough-around-the-edges music that ended up as a perfect match for the lyrics. When Cave released another album (Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!) with the Bad Seeds (which then in turn seemed somewhat influenced by Grinderman), I figured it was a one-off project and that would be that.
Fortunately for everyone, the group is back with another lascivious (both in sound and word) album simply titled 2, and it builds in leaps and bounds from the first release from the group.
In fact, I have no problem in saying that it’s my favorite Cave-related work since pieces of the two-part Abattoir Blues/The Lyre Of Orpheus (and much earlier if you include single albums). It still has a lot in common with the first release from the group, but it’s much more fleshed-out and rich. There’s a real detail to sonics on the release that pushes it far beyond the scope of the first release from the group, and little interesting details pop out all over the place.
“Mickey Mouse And The Goodbye Man” kicks things off in fairly standard fare, as the group stomps through a blast of swaggering rock, but “Worm Tamer” follows and it’s there that other elements start seeping in around the edges. While the chugging guitars are still a main element, backing choirs, backwards guitars, swirling electronics, and some atonal drones push the song into an entirely new and dynamic territory, even without the track ever really blistering.
Even the lulling “What I Know,” which arrives about halfway through the album, crackles with grit, and has some antique-aged background drones that sound like the distant howl of wolves over the quiet campfire strums, but it’s during the latter half of the release where things really come alive. “Evil” is a personal favorite, a heaving mass of squalling guitars, chanted background vocals, and furious builds that just keep taking things higher and higher.
“Evil” – Grinderman
“Palaces Of Montezuma” flips over to the other side and mellows out considerably, but the lush track is no less interesting, taking what could be fairly standard output by most bands and turning it into an insanely twisted love sonnet, with some of the best lyrical couplings from Cave in ages.
“Palaces Of Montezuma” – Grinderman
In equal parts more massive, daring, and varied than the first album by Grinderman, this is one of the most entertaining albums I’ve heard this year. It’s another outstanding release from some guys who aren’t taking themselves too seriously, and certainly haven’t forgotten how to rock either.