2007 – Mute
Alternative/ Rock/ Noise-Rock/ Post-Punk
Nick Cave’s hard rocking side-project Grinderman’s self-titled debut release is an amazing burst of raw energy coupled with Cave’s highly crafted lyrical ability. The project, to my understanding, was intended to be a return to the less produced sounds of rock music similar to Bowie’s experiment Tin Machine, and in the case of Grinderman I think that Cave and his fellow Bad Seeds band-mates Warren Ellis, Martyn Casey, and Jim Sclavunos really did succeed where Bowie didn’t.
The opening track Get It On just explodes the record into existence with its pounding guitar riff barely discernable under the relentlessly noisy distortion and the snide vocals really just make the whole ear-shattering experience magical. The rest of the album takes hold of this thread of pure unadulterated energy and just runs with it like a manic child hyped up on sugar. Each track is just sublimely filled with bursts of screeching feedback, solid, if somewhat basic, guitar lines, pounding drum beats, and a whole host of I-don’t-give-a-fuck lyrics (such as the seedily moustached Cave crooning “I’ve got the no pussy blues”).
Despite all this energy, however, there is also a great scope and variation of music on Grinderman. It jumps seamlessly from the punk-inspired rock of Get It On to the droning of Electric Alice and Grinderman then straight through to the frantically frenetic Depth Charge Ethel and then on and on through all sorts of things while still maintaining a solid and coherent sound and attitude that manages to tie the whole thing together.
I would also say that this record has Cave sounding at his youngest and most exciting since the wild years of The Birthday Party even despite the fact that he was about fifty when this album was released. I mean, there is just such a youthful energy about this record that makes it so irresistible and just makes you want to stand right up and dance around the living room while listening to it. It has the complete package; wild abandon, heartfelt sincerity, and a sound of experimental newness. I guess what it all comes down to is the fact that I’m, at the same time, able to put on my critics cap and appreciate Grinderman from an academic and critical position and let my inner teenager rock the hell out and flip my parents the bird. It’s rare that one finds a record like this, but when you do you just go nuts for it.
I think it might just be the comforting knowledge that at age 50 Cave and his cronies were able to let their inner punks once again rear their ugly heads and cause unimaginable havoc, or maybe it’s just that I was wishing desperately for something that didn’t sound like everything else, but I really, really liked Grinderman when I first heard it and my enjoyment hasn’t lessened in any of the time between then and now; if anything it’s gotten stronger. Everything about it just gets my blood pumping and there’s little else to say about it other than put this record on as loud as it can possibly go right now, run outside, rip your shirt off, and just rock the fuck out.
A brilliantly brutal (and somewhat sleazy) track from from the group’s debut album ‘Grinderman’
- Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds On World Cafe (wnyc.org)
- our most dapper weirdo (3quarksdaily.com)
- Nick Cave At Humphrey’s Concerts By The Bay (thescenestar.typepad.com)
- Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: 1 April 2013 – Chicago (Review) (popmatters.com)
- A day in the life of Nick Cave (guardian.co.uk)