“Is anyone out there wasting their lives
On booze and drugs and husbands and wives and making money?”
Grinderman 2 isn’t that dissimilar, thematically, from Nick Cave‘s day job – there’s a fair bit of religion, and a preoccupation with hedonistic perils, among other things. Musically, however, it’s unafraid to stretch out a bit: “Evil” is the sludgiest bit of stoner rock-cum-death metal I’ve ever heard Cave wail over, and the dissonant jazz squalls on “Worm Tamer” are left untouched by maracas. Perhaps the closest the album gets to the brooding balladry of, say, The Boatman’s Call, or the non-garage rock portions of Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!, is “When My Baby Comes”.
After an opening trio of swaggering, dirty blues, such respite is welcome, especially when it comes draped in mandolin adornments and boasts an opening passage with a close resemblance, dare I say it, to “Night of the Lotus Eaters”. Lucky, then, that “When My Baby Comes” also boasts one of Cave’s finest (and novel) choruses, which eventually erupts into a second half that’s substantially different. As in, the string arrangement is swept upwards into a frenzied shriek, the mandolin totally vanishes, and the predominant instrumentation comes from a howling lead guitar piercing through a filthy, groaning bassline.
Towards the end, all this madness is swallowed up into a fog of creepy FX, but only temporarily, because then the bass kicks in again with hurricane-like force for a desperate coda overlaid with a similarly impassioned vocal arrangement.
I’ve already listened to this one song at least five times today, and there’s still a good eight hours of it left.