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Grinderman: Grinderman 2 

B+

Grinderman

Album: Grinderman 2
Label: Anti-

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In The Bad Seeds, Nick Cave thinks with his brain; in Grinderman, he thinks with his dick. After all, why bother with gothic-romantic gilding when you can charm pants off with a punchline like “My baby calls me the Loch Ness monster / Two great big humps and then I’m gone”? The 2007 debut of Cave’s Grinderman project stripped that lupine lecherousness down to little more than predatory howls and gnashed-teeth guitar—the better to eat you with—and his obsession with “big bad wolves” here confirms he’s still in dirty-old-man mode. But the sequel is a slightly more evolved animal, finishing Cave’s primitive barks with ruminative epilogues of spaced-out psychedelia (“When My Baby Comes”), draping them in thoroughly modern paranoia via hissing machinery (“What I Know”), and even breaking the band’s own “No love, no piano” creed with the grandiloquent “Palaces Of Montezuma.” That newfound consideration also extends to Cave’s charmingly rough-hewn guitar playing, stretched here into tangled squalls rivaling Warren Ellis’ otherworldly screams of electrified bouzouki. While nobody would ever mistake the horny puffing of “Heathen Child” or “Kitchenette” (“I stick my fingers in your biscuit jar”) for the Byron-esque balladry of The Boatman’s Call, Cave and Co. have moved further toward balancing their Grinderman skuzz with Bad Seeds sophistication—which means it’s not always as bust-you-up-on-the-barstool fun, but it’s still a sleazy good time.