and hot damn is it good!!! Cave, Ellis, Casey and Sclavunos reassemble for their second album and all is right with the world of rock and roll.
I woke up somewhat early and completely excited, downed a pot of coffee and headed out to pick up the album. On the way home I meandered along the 110, windows down and wind whipping through the car as I pondered the persistent escalation of the opening track, Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man. If you’ve seen or heard any of the press for this release you know there’s a ‘Wolf Man’ theme and it runs throughout the album, as Cave once again openly acknowledges that this is the band where he can let his dark passenger howl at us, side stepping the baroque poetry that often flourishes on Bad Seeds albums, relying instead on a junk-fuck rocknroll temperament that threatens to kick in the listener’s teeth and masturbate all over their kitchenette. However, if those slightly ridiculous metaphors were extremely relevant to the first Grinderman album there is something slightly different roiling underneath the surface of the music here on the sequel. And make no mistake about it, Grinderman 2 is a sequel. Where many bands simply make ‘the next album’, i.e. another anthological collection of tracks, Cave and crew seem to have made, at least to my ears, something to be played immediately following the first album. If Grinderman is the onset of a frenzied rush from an unknown narcotic, #2 is the leveling off and soft, slightly blurring effect the substance bestows upon the wee hours of the morning as you ride it out and slowly drift downward…
It makes perfect sense that where the first album absolutely influenced the subsequent Bad Seeds album Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! the feel and influence of the Seeds has in turn settled upon the offshoot band. There is a certain level of sophistication (or shall we perhaps call it savoir faire?) that occurs when Cave and the Seeds get together, now some of that is present here, as if not content to do the same thing twice (he never is, is he?) Nick Cave decided it would be better, funnier if he were to kick in your door dressed in an immaculate pinstriped suit, complete with wood-heeled high polish boots and an elegant tie and properly made your acquaintance before subsequently going about his business soiling your home.
Another thing more pronounced on Grinderman 2 is an almost invisible influence by, of all groups, The Doors. Not Cave himself, who would undoubtedly reduce Mr. Morrison to a quivering pile of jelly in a matter of seconds, but in the instrumentation, due in large part to Cave’s predilection for the organ, Mr. Ellis’ varied instrument selection and Sclavunos’ almost Native American approach to rhythms – rhythms that create disjointed psychedelic atmospheres that, in a more pronounced way than on the first album, skit in and out of the peripheral of many of the songs.
Grinderman 2 – another fantastic album from a living legend.