John Grant: Pale Green Ghosts

nullHaving led the Denver-based band the Czars for a decade, crooner John Grant stepped out on his own in 2010 with his debut solo release, Queen of Denmark. It became a critical favorite (even chosen by Mojo Magazine as the best album of the year), as Grant’s powerfully confessional songs about growing up gay in the Midwest were expertly backed and given a glorious 70s sheen by the band Midlake. For its follow-up, Pale Green Ghosts, a timely trip to Iceland inspired him to work with Biggi Veira of Gus Gus, who brings a subtle electronic backdrop to Grant’s bold, sturdy songs.

If there is a musician whose own personal issues are more apparent in their art than Grant, I haven’t heard of them. With supreme confidence, he reveals himself throughout songs like “Vietnam,” “It Doesn’t Matter to Him.” and the decidedly non-radio-friendly “GMF” (although there is a radio version that captures all but a smidge of the glory of the song). It seems appropriate that Sinead O’Connor contributed backing vocals to the album, as she is possibly the only other artist I can think of that operates with the same level of personal involvement in her music. The additional revelation that Grant has been diagnosed as HIV-positive hits all the harder through his utter frankness with the situation. And yet there is no wallowing – just the expressions of a man dealing with life and sharing his thoughts in the mode of genuinely beautiful tunes.

Track List:

01. Pale Green Ghosts
02. Black Belt
03. GMF
04. Vietnam
05. It Doesn't Matter to Him
06. Why Don't You Love Me Anymore
07. You Don't Have To
08. Sensitive New Age Guy
09. Ernest Borgnine
10. I Hate This Town
11. Glacier