Grinderman

So. Nick Cave. Lives in Hove now. “Hoveactually”, as we used to call it – the place where people lived who were too posh to live in Brighton. (“Oh, no, I’m from Hove, actually.”) Safe, boring Hove with its white-fronted Regency terraces and endless seafront of grey waves and squalling gulls. There’s something actually perverse about Nick Cave living there, but I’m happy for him: you can’t sit there wailing at the walls forever.

I’ve been hearing about Grinderman for two years now, and for some reason never got around to checking them out. I wouldn’t call myself a Nick Cave fan – got the greatest hits and been to a couple of concerts – but he’s the sort of man I’ll take an avid interest in, because everything he does is interesting.

He looks these days like he ought to be in No Country for Old Men – a film that isn’t nearly as interesting as it thinks it is. Its jarring soundtrack distracts more than it unsettles, and it spends more time telling you that it’s a masterpiece than even coming close to being one. It’s not a bad film by any stretch, but it just doesn’t merit the attention.

Does Grinderman?

I’m not overwhelmed by the earlier single, but Heathen Child … well, that’s something special.

It’s actually fairly poppy – reminiscent of something like Papa Won’t Leave You Henry, drenched in lazy lo-fi riffs pulled straight from the mid-70s. It could be a Led Zeppelin cover for all I know, with its hypnotic repetition, tamborines and distorted squealing guitars. I like it a lot.

Honey Bee – performed two years ago on Letterman – is just manic garage rock. It’s desperate, dirty, sweaty and loud. It’s not pushing any boundaries, but at his age, he doesn’t really need to. There’s something very life-affirming about watching Nick Cave leap about raging, like that poem about the old woman wearing purple. He’s just reminding us he ain’t gonna go anywhere and he sure as hell ain’t going quietly.

The residents of Hove would be outraged.

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