You can insert your own sequel jokes about “electric boogaloo” or how “this time it’s personal” if you want, but the fact of the matter is Grinderman 2 is a fucking monster of reckless dirt rock, throwing heavy guitar fuzz in the face of relentless punk swagger and making the two dance like endtime drunkards. Nick Cave’s bid to make rock and roll™ dangerous again pays off in the spine-crunching groove of “When My Baby Comes” or “Kitchenette,” which runs a torrent of electric guitar noise behind Cave’s dare-you-to-keep-up-with-this-shit lyrics. “Worm Tamer” comes on like grown up Queens Of The Stone Age, but “Palaces Of Montezuma” shows up all nice-like, collared shirt, piano, class. Grinderman can pretty much make noise however they want and make it work. It’s like aural Brando.
Personnel here is the same as on the band’s 2007 self-titled: Cave joined by Bad Seeds members Warren Ellis, Martyn P. Casey and Jim Sclavunos, and Nick Launay returns as co-producer. The band was right to estimate that, whatever it was, it wasn’t broken and required no fixing. If there’s a third Grinderman, let’s hope all parties return to their respective posts.
The bluesy strains of opener “Mickey Mouse And The Goodbye Man” ignite classic songwriting formulas with throbbing rock rhythms, crafting a party vibe that none of us are cool enough to really get down with (we’ll pretend we are anyway), and keep a calm head even when the melee is at its bloodiest. Controlled freakouts, man. Something rarely heard. They reel it in and build a tension so dense it could be dinner with your Republican dad.
If the energy gets exhausting, it’s not the band’s problem. Grinderman 2 is American blues blisters on the stiff hands of weak-ass musical corporatocracy—aggression in the nude—chaos au natural—and if you can’t hold the pace, they’re not waiting up.
In A Word: Goddamn