CD of the week
Album: John Grant, Pale Green Ghosts (Bella Union)
Saturday 09 March 2013
It's fair to say that most who heard the former Czars frontman's solo debut Queen of Denmark would have happily lapped up more of the same: channelling struggles with drugs, alcohol and sexuality into beautiful, baroque soft-rock, it cropped up on many an end-of-year list in 2010.
Yet Grant can barely acknowledge his laurels, let alone rest on them. And so, for this follow-up he's gone electronic, allying his emotional vicissitudes to those of early dance music, from the disco bacchanal of "Sensitive New Age Guy" to the title track's claustrophobic, proto-techno grind.
The occasional familiar, Carpenters-esque track aside, it makes for an exhilarating musical progression – even as his lyrical style remains unchanged. Once again, discomfiting self-exposure is tempered by the most eccentric, erudite wit: take "Ernest Borgnine", in which he obliquely reflects on his recent HIV diagnosis with reference to the late film bruiser, or "Black Belt", a caustic diatribe against an ex-lover that makes a quip out of the word "callipygian" – that's "having well-shaped buttocks", FYI.
"Pain it is a glacier … creating spectacular landscapes," he sings on "Glacier": a truth his career makes self-evident.
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
- 2 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 3 Nick Kyrgios calls former Olympian Dawn Fraser a 'blatant racist' after she tells Wimbledon star to 'go back where their parents came from'
- 4 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 5 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
Game of Thrones season 6: Daenerys actress Emilia Clarke says '50/50 chance' Jon Snow is alive
Chronixx interview: Reggae sensation on taking the opening spot at Glastonbury and calling Barack Obama a 'waste man'
Game of Thrones season 6: Director Jack Bender says showrunners 'communicate closely' with George RR Martin
Top Gear: Jeremy Clarkson 'can't front ITV motoring show' due to BBC contract clause
Amy Winehouse film: Mark Ronson praises 'respectful' movie as it scores highest ever UK opening for British documentary
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
Greece debt crisis: Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande issue Athens with 24-hour ultimatum to avoid crashing out of the euro
Greece crisis: Referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its lack of genuine legitimacy