The girls want to do an Aquafit class this evening and, yes, I said I’d go. Yes, even though I have already done my 3500m worth of laps this morning I will support this healthy-active family lifestyle wholeheartedly and, thusly, embrace this wussy-ass Aquafit class with open arms.
However, I also feel the need to balance out this “wuss factor” with some imminent awesomeness by going an hour earlier and completing a 60 minute He-man plyometric/weights routine beforehand. And, of course, any He-man routine needs appropriate He-man music so I’m loaded up and prepared to go by following up with the sequel album that I listened to last week (click HERE), ‘Grinderman 2‘.
I mean, it has a wolf on the cover.
That’s awesome, right?
When Grinderman released their debut in 2007, Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Jim Sclavunos, and Martyn Casey created a reckless, drunken animal of an alter ego to the Bad Seeds. The album bridged territory mined by everyone from the Stooges to Bo Diddley. This album, by comparison, is a more polished and studied affair than its predecessor, being more sonically adventurous, and more “Rock & Rolly”.
The opening, ‘Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man‘, comes closest to the songs on the previous album, but feels like it could be more influenced by either Patti Smith, or perhaps, say, Howlin’ Wolf. It’s pure scummy, sleazy, in-the-red dissonant rock. The swampy, ribald blues of ‘Kitchenette‘, features Casey’s bass roiling around distorted, Echoplexed electric guitar, electric bouzouki, and jungle-like tom-toms and kick drums. Cave does his best lecher-in-heat blues howl – if Charles Bukowski had sung the blues, this is what it would have sounded like. ‘Worm Tamer‘ is a thundering, interlocked coil of triple-note vamps on electric guitar and violin; there’s an organ that sounds like Sun Ra playing in a burlesque theater, and an elastic groove in the rhythm section that threatens to take the entire thing off the rails, but purposely never does.
The album also has that same dark humor to it that the last one did. The single ‘Heathen Child‘, with its darkly comedic lyrics built from the slithering, funky rhythm-section mix, is as infectiously hooky as it is blasphemous; Ellis’ careening bouzouki here is among the more delightfully threatening rock sounds to emerge from a stringed instrument in ages. The band can do a slow burn as well, evidenced by ‘When My Baby Comes‘, as Cave’s theatrically bawdy lyrics are delivered over the ensemble’s space rock drone. Nothing really prepares the listener for ‘Bellringer Blues‘, though. It sounds akin to Spiritualized – if you can believe that – careening into 21st century garage rock, as distorted, back-masked loops of guitar, organ and drums drive spooky chanted vocals that churn, rumble and crack in response.
With its expansive textural and atmospheric palette, and deliberately studied dynamic bombast, ‘Grinderman 2‘ still contains an overdose of rock and roll adrenaline and is drenched in comic sleaze, but it also sounds like a new, more experimental direction for the band more than it does a continuation of its predecessor.
In short, it kicks some serious ass!