There’s more than a little irony that Grinderman, a band that served as the wild and raw foil to the Bad Seeds’ sophistication, turned its songs over to be remixed. The act’s two albums were a testament to base desires—sex, mostly, with a hint of violence to keep listeners on their toes—and there are few places less primal than the cold deliberations of a producer’s mixing suite.
The best moments on Grinderman 2 RMX come when the remixers force their will on the tracks rather than playing second fiddle to the band. A Place To Bury Strangers’ Oliver Ackerman runs “Worm Tamer” through his extensive pedal chain to transform it into a noisy shoegaze number. Cat’s Eyes swaps Cave’s vocals for Rachel Zeffira’s ethereal voice on “When My Baby Comes,” and Faris Badwan of The Horrors twists the track into out-of-focus drones. It’s chilling, and completely unrecognizable from the original.
When the tracks tend toward the predictable—which is more often than not—Grinderman 2 RMX stumbles. UNKLE’s “Hyper Worm Tamer” plugs in the duo’s reverb-rattled beats and dub minimalism to give the song a trip-hop makeover without altering its character. Josh Homme and Andrew Weatherall reassemble “Mickey Bloody Mouse” and “Heathen Child” respectively in an attempt to keep the overloaded-amp power and end up sounding like nothing more than pointlessly jumbled-up versions of the originals. Some things are best left raw, unspoiled, and unmolested.