Friday, August 20th, 2010

Grinderman – Heathen Child

Is it just me, or in the video, does Nick Cave not have any facial hair?…


Michaelangelo Matos: Joke bands eventually take the gag seriously, often on the second album. Especially when they’re the side projects of very serious artistes.

Alex Macpherson: Thundering beats and explosions of electricity do their best, but can’t lend any interest to this turgid litany of clichés about yet another vulnerable-but-sexy-but-dangerous nubile female that Nick Cave is fixating on. He is such a middle-aged accountant.

Anthony Easton: Listening to the 30 minute breakdown of Cohen’s Tower of Song the other night, I thought to myself: will there be anybody ever who is cooler then Nick Cave? All of the black angels of Rock and Roll, from Elvis to Cash must have met sometime in the pre-existence and decided that he would keep their legacy full and forward.

Mallory O’Donnell: I honestly prefer Cave when he most resembles some darkside Neil Diamond, but this is far better than most of the Grinderman material, which seems based on the curious notion that he is at his best when rockin’ out. Part of it is that Warren Ellis has been given enough room to create amazing bleating android sheep noises, and part of it is that Old Nick appears to have written his lyrics and recorded his vocals at midnight, in the spooky forest, on a two-day bender and in five minutes. Also, it’s apparently a 7″. From 2010.

Alfred Soto: If I must listen to one of the biggest emotional frauds of the last thirty years, I’d rather his scrappy untutored guitar mediated. There’s still the matter of Cave, alas – when he means to sound sinister he just sounds arch. That ain’t no way to play the blues.

Rebecca Toennessen: A bit of Vic Reeves-esque club style singing, like heavy caramel over a thick, crunchy guitar, coated with some inoffensive, chocolate-y, rhythms. The Twix bar of rock.

David Raposa: Unlike (yeah I’m going there) “No Pussy Blues” — which ably played Nick Cave’s hard-up carny sprawl against the music’s sinister and cathartic precision — this tune’s more sound than fury. Bless his bitter soul, Cave’s grinding his organ a little too hard here to really earn those awesome spikes of distortion that rear their head during the intro and outro. But those amplifier flare-ups — reminiscent (to me) of the broke-ass sounds Jack White coaxed from his equipment circa Icky Thump, except (editorial alert) put to better use — are nearly good enough to have this track realize its delusions of grand squalor. (Note to those wondering why my forgiving score might not match my crotchety rhetoric: pretend I gave this track a 6.5, and rounded up because of Cave’s facial hair.)

Mark Sinker: Try as I might, what I hear is a group of hairy folks with a self-consciously out-there record collection trying to turn the concept of U2’s “Desire” into a song that doesn’t suck. And, um, failing.

Additional Scores

Martin Skidmore: [7]

25 Responses to “Grinderman – Heathen Child”

  1. “All of the black angels of Rock and Roll, from Bono to Doherty” :D

  2. fuck you mark, (i deserved that and i love you)

  3. i wish i could help you move house, anthony!

  4. its only a few boxes

  5. yes but it would be comradely and then we could go to a bar!

  6. pints ahoy!

  7. If I must listen to one of the biggest emotional frauds of the last thirty years

    wait, what?

  8. Nick Cave sucks.

  9. the 30 minute breakdown of Cohen’s Tower of Song

    wait, what?

    That sounds awful. I don’t hate Cave the way Alfred does, but “one of the biggest emotional frauds of the last thirty years” sounds about right.

  10. If I must listen to one of the biggest emotional frauds of the last thirty years

    wait, what?

    Nick Cave sucks

    Oh come on — give him a break. He’s only completely sucked since Birthday Party broke up. (28 years, right?)

  11. The only Nick Cave that I’ve heard that doesn’t suck is The Boatman’s Call.

  12. Or okay, 27 I guess. (Though he was probably already an emotional fraud before then. But at least back in those days he had a pretty decent band backing him up.)

  13. Isn’t fraudulent emotion the the point of I want to say art but I’ll settle for creative work? Or is it only terrible in this instance because some people take Nick Cave seriously?

  14. I’m reading “fradulent emotion” as a way of saying that Nick Cave wants to sell himself as XYZ but fails to foot that particular bill (which I can kinda buy) (CREAM).

  15. Blame that dopey baritone. Also: total cornball. The wrong sort of literary pretensions. Dreadful hair.

  16. cornball is great!
    camp is great!
    artifice is great!
    theatre is great!
    pretending to be someone yr not is the entire fucking point of rock and roll!
    nick cave is a genius,.

  17. The thing with Cave is that he almost always gives the impression that he thinks he’s a lot more dangerous and transgressive than he is…his themes, his characters, his way of presenting them, they’re all just gigantic boring clichés. I like The Boatman’s Call because for once he doesn’t seem wrapped up in all of that.

  18. “He is such a middle-aged accountant.”

    actual LOLs

  19. anthony, you’re talking to the world’s biggest Bryan Ferry fan. Cave is just a bad actor, and worse, one never forgot reading Southern gothic literature as a young man.

  20. see, yr thinking anglo–he’s not anglo, he’s late elvis, you know the one fully aware of his own personae, and he’s having a lot more fun then you think he is (it’s the problem with the last of the cash albums too–that we assume cash is this provetor of darkness and miss the song about the chicken–how anyone could see that video and think of it as anything mroe then kiddies bible hour suggests a gravistas that is not present. and i for one love the aesthetic of kiddies bible hour

  21. i can move the “didn’t totally suck” up to 1990‘s “the weeping song”, which is kind of jaunty and daft, and NC still ha a sort of impish small-boy boy cheekiness — they can’t quite work out where to take it in the last quarter, so just run on vamp till fade, but the slightness and silliness to the whole idea is kinda charming (he’s making off with your wallet but he left you grinning)

    also: blixa!

    the bit i did quite like in this^^^was when NC and chorus repeat-sing “you are wrong”

  22. I actually somewhat like the video too, or bits of it (basically the monsters and the coloursense; less so the gods and the chopped in found material): but it cheats, by turning half the song’s electronics into SFX for the visuals, and it reallydoesn’t have the courage of its convictions — the girl in the bath should have been a child (yes, don’t worry: i can see why there would be, um, problems with that — but it totally messes up anthony’s reading for it to be a young woman)

  23. actually what it really should be is an OLD woman remembering being a child

  24. he’s late elvis, you know the one fully aware of his own personae

    Nope — don’t hear this at all. Besides, to believe in Late Elvis, you need to steep yourself in two decades of Elvis mythos so that you can ask yourself, “How is this sweaty blob of a man in a rhinestone jumpsuit forcing me to take him seriously?” And Late Elvis was as terrible and miraculous as Early and Middle Elvis ever was, only less so, if that makes sense.

    As for Cave, I’m not going to honor him by thinking about his pompous oratory and dwelling in darkness for its own sake, as if life ended at eighteen.

  25. *ever were