Format: Single LP Gatefold
Catalogue Number: STUMM272
Year of Release: 2007
A1 Get It On 3:05
A2 No Pussy Blues 4:14
A3 Electric Alice 3:12
A4 Grinderman 4:29
A5 Depth Charge Ethel 3:42
B1 Go Tell The Women 3:20
B2 (I Don't Need You To) Set Me Free 4:01
B3 Honey Bee (Let's Fly To Mars) 3:17
B4 Man In The Moon 2:11
B5 When My Love Comes Down 3:25
B6 Love Bomb 4:19
This is one of only two albums, in recent times, that I got to know better from a leaked version than the official release, the other being Radiohead's Hail To The Thief. And I think there's something about getting new and different material, from a familiar band, in a raw form that makes it more exciting to listen to, and easier to engage with, and love.
Hail To The Thief changed little from leak to release; Grinderman changed a few tunes around, but to great and odd effect. Essentially, Love Bomb and Go Tell the Women changed places, Decoration Day, Vortex and Rise were dropped, and the bizarre Depth Charge Ethel was added.
Starting Side B with Go Tell The Women is one of the worst tracklisting decisions I've ever experienced, being a tune only really suited to come at the end of the album. Vortex is a pretty dull instrumental workout for the band, but was fairly interesting and worth keeping just to break things up a bit. Depth Charge Ethel is the sound of a project getting a little too full of itself.
Minor niggles aside, this is undoubtedly Nick Cave in one of his greatest periods of creative endeavour. Grinderman are an excellent live proposition, and can be equally compelling on record. The opening quartet of tunes are amongst his best, whilst being simultaneously distanced from the lyrically dense (but no less enjoyable for it) Abattoir Blues/Lyre of Orpheus set.
The stripped-back sound of Grinderman meets a more forthright Nick in both Get It On and No Pussy Blues, where the loss of any feline pet is certainly not the issue. There's an excellent performance of this on Later with [sanctimonious neck-less boogie-woogie prick] Jools Holland, which has a priceless cut to members of piss-poor 'alternative' band Travis in the audience, realising they have much to learn: here.
When the slow-grind is employed, on the title track and Man In The Moon, it can be very affecting; when it fails though, I look to this Pitchfork interview, and this quote:
Pitchfork: Does Warren make the loops before coming
into the studio?
Cave: Some of them he does. In the early stages he would call me up and play me loops over the telephone. I would tape those sounds on a Dictaphone, and then play the Dictaphone and sing along. His loops have the ability to set up a kind of instant atmosphere. There is something very organic about them, and very often they will form the basis of the song.
And it makes me think of something that is both the problem, and the solution.
Go tell the women, I am leaving.