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John Grant

American singer-songwriter

Studio Albums

Queen of Denmark - 2010

Pale Green Ghosts - 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Grant

Queen of Denmark - John Grant - 6.5

Ex Czars frontman Grant teamed up with Midlake to produce his first solo album and there's plenty here to trumpet. A confessional album, it has some heart stopping moments and some excellent material offset by Grant's rich voice which drives through songs about his sexuality (gay) and never becomes mundane. There is a huge diversity of material from the slow ballads to some almost Germanic pieces. But the album never becomes mawkish despite some quite harrowing lyrics about lost loves and sexual encounters. Apparently during the making of this album Grant hit an all time low through drink, drugs and suicidal thoughts. As a result he has come up with an album that is both difficult but highly engaging. One where you feel you have listened to something important by the end and in songs such as Queen of Denmark, I Wanna Go to Marz (about a sweetshop and not the planet) and the sublime Where the Dreams Go To Die Grant has fashioned some of the best songs of the year. The latter has a real Richard Hawley feel to it.

 

Pale Green Ghosts - John Grant - 3

Midway through this second solo album from the former Czars frontman I found myself running out of patience. His previous offering "Queen of Denmark" was one of my favourite albums of 2010 with its wonderful melodies, intriguing lyrics and charm. Sadly Pale Green Ghosts has none of that charm. It is a harsh album dominated by two aspects - electronica and Grant's obvious need for serious help as a person. Grant has been diagnosed as HIV positive. Openly gay he seems to feel that through his music we should be helping him. That means a series of harsh, spittingly acidic songs railing at life and his own situation. Self obsessed would be the best description of them. And so halfway through I was beginning to question the point of listening further to four letter tirades against society and his personal situation. Queen of Denmark was in many ways a beautiful record full of memorable songs. This isn't in any way, shape or form and I can only suggest that Grant needs to get back to the drawing board. There are a few points where it seems to pick up only to return to the hate filled invectives. Certainly an album I could well do without.