What to say about this album? Or the man behind it? His story is at times harrowing, sad, joyous, in fact the very fact he’s made a new album and put it out given what he’s gone through in the last year is an achievement in itself. A former frontman, beset by a lack of faith in his own skills and voice, time spent int he musical wilderness was saved by American outfit Midlake when they persuaded him to record an album with them. The result of that was the fantastic Queen Of Denmark, which layered piano and velvet, dual-tracked vocals, disguising the extremities of emotion in almost MOR style balladry. But underneath the surface of the standard musical structure lurks darkness at every turn. And The Queen Of Denmark was about his happiness spent with a partner, then Pale Green Ghosts is the bleakness of post-break up, taken up a notch with the announcement, onstage, that he was HIV+. Others would have retreated into solitude, but Grant simply confronted this head on, and the result is an album that’s accessible immeadiately, then gradually snares you, as the emotional impact the words hits home.
Made with Biggi Viera of Gus Gus, there’s an electronic slant on it, but it’s much more than just some synths added to Grant’s syrupy voice. For me, I’ve actually become obsessed with the album. I tend to listen to new albums three or four times over to get to know them in the first week, but occasionally I end up with a mild addiction, and in this case I’ve listened to it over 30 times in the first two weeks. I find myself waking up in the night and the morning with songs stuck in my head (the fist in a velvet glove GMF, or the ehtereal title track) and it’s pretty much taken me over this month.
There’s a brilliant interview with him in the Guardian that’s worth reading too:
Laid bare, Pale Green Ghosts is one of the albums of the year.
Brother David – Deptford Goth – Life After Defo
Similary sprung on me this month, by a friend and while at first impression it just sounds a little like identikit male-voice, lots of reverb, dubby Croydon stuff, it’s a real grower. It’s not so much the vocals or the fx, but the melodies, and they’ve really stuck with me. two of my favourite albums this year so far. There’s a good interview with him in the Guardian as well. Enjoy!