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Grinderman – S/T

Clodagh O\'Connor-McKenna



I can’t rave enough about Nick Cave. He is the kind of guy you just want to hang out with, drink scotch with and hear some of the amazing stories I’m sure he has to tell. (I may be a little bit obsessed). His last musical offering – Lyre of Orpheus/Abattoir Blues – was his best work to date, after a distinguished career of more than three decades. It featured the song ‘Breathless’, which wins my award for best use of a recorder in modern popular music.
Although a good contender for the worst album cover of 2007, his most recent endeavour is the album Grinderman. It features him, alongside fellow members of his regular band The Bad Seeds and will most definitely delight his dedicated fans.
Grinderman opens with two raucous, punk-fuelled tracks, which have had many critics hailing this as a return to his earliest days in post-punk band The Birthday Party. Those people obviously didn’t listen to the rest of the album. Although it definitely has a genuine punk flavour weaved throughout, in a Stooges kind of a way, it is far a more varied album, complete with a ballad or two.
His lyrics are witty, mournful and at times extremely cutting, a combination of traits that very few songwriters achieve. I certainly wouldn’t want to be any of the people he is writing about.
‘No Pussy Blues’, unsurprisingly about a guy who, despite his best efforts, can’t get laid, is an album highlight. It sounds brilliantly screeching and angry, creating the perfect atmosphere of frustration.
The album is an eclectic mash of garage rock, punk, and blues. ‘Depth Charge Ethel’ is a danceable rock track that also incorporates some gospel elements in the backing vocals, finely juxtaposed against heavy classic rock guitar, a trademark technique of Cave in more recent times.
Once again his captivating voice takes its usual place as an instrument unto itself, especially on the plodding, slightly creepy title track, ‘Grinderman’.
This album is noisy, melancholic, poetic, filthy and downright brilliant. Another fantastic notch on the musical belt of Nick Cave.