Growing weary of some of the more experimental tendencies of the Bad Seeds, Nick Cave formed Grinderman in order to be a more instinctual, sripped down kind of band. This 2007 release, their self-titled debut, is exactly that. This record is pure, primal garage rock at its absolute finest and it kicks serious ass. It’s quite clear here that Cave and the guys are having the time of their lives producing this music. It’s music that, by the way, comes quite naturally. This isn’t simply a departure for the sake of departure.
One thing about this record that is clear right from the start is that it’s absolutely hilarious. The opening track, “Get It On”, will have the listener laughing within seconds of Cave’s opening lines.The real comedic highlight of the record is the following track, “No Pussy Blues”, which tells the tale of a pathetic bastard who, you guessed it, can’t get laid no matter what he tries. This song will have you in stitches the entire four and a half minutes. Much of the rest of this record flows in much the same fashion. This record feels like it’s over just as it’s begun, because of how flawlessly everything fits together and how enjoyable it is. This isn’t Nick Cave at his most profound, but it is him at his most carefree and relaxed. It’s nice to hear him in such a natural state. After decades of making a career out of pushing the envelope in every way imaginable in search of some kind of cosmic end product and often pushing the excesses and obsessions of his mind to their limits, he has definitely owed it to himself to produce a record like this. It’s true. Anyone who says that rock n’ roll can’t be art obviously has never heard of Nick Cave. The title track and “Man in the Moon” are really the only moments on this record where the straightforward nature is suspended.
Nick Cave is an extreme and intense personality. Knowing this is a crucial element to understanding this record. He has had the tendency to outwork himself throughout the years and struggle intensely with the concept of recording a profound work of art. This record feels entirely like a breath of fresh air for him. He certainly isn’t one to record something just because he can or that he has to (No, I’m not pointing fingers). With his many projects over the years, especially with the Bad Seeds, you know that when they put a record out that you’re in for something meaningful and that comes with intense purpose behind it. This is no different with this record. Though it may be a simplified version of what Cave is normally up to, it’s intent is no less meaningful and purposeful. It’s as if he is letting us all know that joy and pleasure have finally encompassed a project with his name on it. Joy and pleasure are exactly what this record is. As a listener, you’ll have just as much fun listening to the release of Cave’s soul as he seemingly had freeing it. Essential listening. No exceptions.