Album review: Grinderman – Grinderman 2 (Mute)

The second offering from Nick Cave's side project is unrelentingly sex-crazed - and very, very funny

[a]Grinderman[/a]’s 2007 debut was the funny and frustrated tale of a set of characters beset by a catastrophic inability to get laid. Three years later, a continuing sexual impasse has twisted their snappy garage blues into testosterone-addled, thick-browed rock and lurching psychedelia. In ‘Grinderman 2’ Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Martyn P Casey and Jim Sclavunos have ejaculated a curious and rowdy record that, in a world of po-faced drips, revels in mischief.

The notion that Nick Cave is a misanthropic cove who sits in some dank mansion smoking laudanum through a vulture’s thigh bone has long been discounted, not due to his being spotted waving a giant polystyrene hand at a Brighton musical, but because Grinderman are hellish fun. The video for ‘Heathen Child’, which features the band dressed in gladiatorial outfits that reveal drummer Sclavunos’ arse, is evidence enough that this isn’t the sort of joyless trad-rock side project intended to cosy up to Jools Holland.

Fecund musicality is the key to ‘Grinderman 2’, the stained sheets upon which Cave’s lascivious words thrash. On ‘Evil’, Cave wails imploringly to a woman “in this rented room” over Warren Ellis’ guitar, which squeals and howls like the animals of the Ark undergoing brutal torture. In ‘Kitchenette’, Cave tries to prize the object of his affections from her current flame: “What’s this husband of yours ever given to you? Oprah Winfrey on a plasma screen?”, while ‘Worm Tamer’ features the finest lyric of 2010: “My baby calls me the Loch Ness monster/Two great big humps and then I’m gone”. The devil be praised that, rather than visiting the shrink or brothel to deal with his sexual dysfunction, the Grinderman went to the studio instead.

Luke Turner

Click here to get your copy of Grinderman’s ‘Grinderman 2’ from Rough Trade Shops.