Release Date 13/09/2010 (Mute)
It’s too easy to appraise anything connected to Nick Cave uncritically. He enunciates every syllable of every word of his insane, depraved ramblings with the conviction, poise and rage of an Old Testament prophet coming out of the desert hailing the apocalypse. So convincing is he that it’s hard to doubt the quality of the accompanying music. With The Bad Seeds doubt will not prevail. Turn to Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! and you will find something as musically accomplished as Cave is lyrically sublime. Grinderman 2, however, is a completely different tome of nutters.
Cave is on fine form. If anything, though it might sound impossible, he reaches new depths of sexual depravation, but mixes it with a heavy hunk of humour. “You know my baby calls me the Loch Ness Monster, two great big humps and then I’m gone”, he sings on ‘The Worm Tamer’, which is essentially a list of sexual and genital euphemisms.
Musically, it is unrelentingly bleak. Swirling, directionless blues guitar riffs, submerged in a choppy sea of distortion dominate, creating a claustrophobic paranoia that is both unsettling and contagious. Only on the penultimate track, ‘Palaces of Montezuma’ do we emerge into the light, but this only serves to highlight how dark everything else is.
Grinderman 2 is like being buried alive with a sex starved maniac and just as disturbing – the Marquis de Sade would have been proud of it. But if you can survive the album’s initial intensity, its infectious mania will start to infiltrate your psyche. Miserable on first listen, slightly disturbing on the second, and hilarious from then on you will finally feel brainwashed. But because of the music’s sheer lack of warmth, humanity and humour the album never truly succeeds. Impressive this is, but it’s too cold to be an addictive or repeatable experience.