Grinderman – Grinderman (2007): Review


Produced by Nick Launay and Grinderman
Label – Mute/ANTI-

On a recent interview for BBC ’s Culture Show the usually elusive Nick Cave explained Grinderman’s conception, and insisted that although he’s pulled together the various members of The Bad Seeds, the new long player is fresh territory with subtle differences in the recording process and individual instrumental responsibility. Firstly, Cave has ditched the piano in favour of his more rudimentary guitar skills. Secondly, he has left much of the extravagant literary imagery and prose, to pursue a more direct lyrical approach resulting in his interesting statement that “this is my most personal album ever”. The music is a world away from Cave’s recent solemn and reflective releases; it’s a firecracker of white hot discordant punk noise, bearing a greater resemblance to the carnal crudity of The Birthday Party. His lines are absurdly primitive, brutal and dirty, his guitar work basic, distorted, and mostly thunderous.


The lead off single “No Pussy Blues” is not only highlighting Cave’s sexual frustration via exploding musical aggression, it’s also the funniest song you’ll hear in years as he reels off all the efforts in his horny arsenal to bed the girl, culminating in the prize line “I sent her every type of flower, I played her guitar by the hour, I patted her revolting little Chihuahua, But still she just didn’t want to.” Perhaps his initial failings have some relevance to the misogyny of “Go Tell The Women” as Cave sings “All we wanted was a little consensual rape in the morning, And maybe a bit more in the evening”. Generally, it’s the up tempo numbers that work most enjoyably, particularly “No Pussy Blues”, “Depth Charge Ethel” and the outstanding closer “Love Bomb”. The bared down, slower songs seem to lack colour or character, exemplified by the title track which only enforces the notion that a) as with many recordings that are written in a short time frame (less than a week), there is a certain amount of creative filler to endure, and b) the slow songs emphasize Cave’s instrumental inability. That said, “Grinderman” is richly invigorating, often funny, passionate and raw.

Ok, the album can’t boast gut wrenching manic panic genius throughout, but there’s still enough class here to put most of the competition to sleep, and it’s a cool diversion from Cave’s recent work.


Track Listing
1. “Get It On” 3:07
2. “No Pussy Blues” 4:20
3. “Electric Alice” 3:15
4. “Grinderman” 4:33
5. “Depth Charge Ethel” 3:47
6. “Go Tell the Women” 3:24
7. “(I Don’t Need You To) Set Me Free” 4:06
8. “Honey Bee (Let’s Fly to Mars)” 3:18
9. “Man in the Moon” 2:10
10. “When My Love Comes Down” 3:32
11. “Love Bomb”

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