Grinderman – Grinderman

GrindermanGrinderman is Nick Cave’s new project which is seperate from his work with the Bad Seeds. Considering their last album was a hugely ornate and grand double album, Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus. That album was great, especially the tracks that included a choir that gave the songs a big vocal presence. Grinderman is almost the complete antithesis of this: Cave, along with his Bad Seeds Martyn Casey (bass), Jim Sclavunos (drums) and Warren Ellis (violin/guitar), have made an album of stripped down, dirty rock ‘n roll songs.

The thing that struck me first was how bare the music sounded (that and the frequent profanity). The guitar and violin are mainly there for texture and it’s the bass and drums that really carry the tune. The single “No Pussy Blues” is the perfect example of this: minimal drums, heavy bass and chattering lyrics that deal with the loss of youth and the illusion of fame (“My face is finished, my body’s gone, and I can’t help thinking but think standing up here with all this applause and gazing down at all the young and beautiful with looking up with their questioning eyes/That I must above all things love myself…”). The snarling chorus is staggeringly heavy.

The recurring theme is defiantly age and the regret and defiance it brings: some of the best lyrics are in the final track, “Love Bomb” where Nick rages that he’s “been watching Gardener’s Question Time/but I can’t grow a dandelion”.It would be funny if the song didn’t sound so predatory. Strangely enough, despite how rowdy most of the tracks sound, one of my favourites is the downbeat “Man On The Moon”. And Grinderman is full of conflictions: some of the quieter tracks are the most affecting, The middle-eastern, woozy “When My Love Comes Down” is a fine example of this. I wasn’t expecting that much from this album, but this is a real, full-bodied group making music that sounds like it’s coming from guys half their age.

Grinderman – No Pussy Blues:

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