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Grinderman 2 - Anti-
FILTER Grade: 80%

By David C. Obenour on September 1, 2010



For artists of a certain caliber, it’s always difficult to tell if their new work is actually disappointing or just disappointing within the scope of their back catalog. Example: while Magic may not stand out within the Bruce Springsteen collection, it would certainly have been a feather in Jesse Malin’s hat. Likewise, Grinderman 2 is a great album by most standards. By Nick Cave’s standards, however, the man responsible for Prayers on Fire, No More Shall We Part and even the first Grinderman record, it doesn’t quite live up to its promise. Cave’s lyricism is as strong as ever, landing perfectly somewhere between the worlds of Neil Gaiman and Tom Waits. The playing isn’t lacking either; you might even say that questioning the chops of Warren Ellis, Martyn Casey and Jim Sclavunos would say more about the critic than it would about them. What ends up not fully working is the album’s overarching idea of having the Aussies ape a classic rock album; straight-ahead drumbeats, big and clean production and meaty hooks backed by Led Zeppelin-esque string sections. There are some gems, like “Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man” and “Palaces of Montezuma,” but the prevailing bombastic verbosity doesn’t work well as a replacement for angst and tension fueled punk/blues/post-rock.

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