Despite always standing in the shadows of her Shakespearean significant other, the Queen of Denmark has her own story. And John Grant, formerly of the Czars, has taken it upon himself to tell that story in his debut solo effort, available only on limited edition tape. Better get it before the play moves to another town or something.
Double LP £17.99 BELLAV235
Double LP on Bella Union.
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CD £6.99 BELLACD235
CD on Bella Union.
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Ltd tape on Bella Union.
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9/10 Penrith Steve Customer review, 4th September 2015
John Grant’s debut solo album, "Queen of Denmark", which followed the break-up of his band The Czars is somewhat of a masterpiece in my eyes. He enlisted the help of Midlake as his backing band, and influenced by them made an album of gloriously warm ‘70s infused velvety soft-rock.
“Where Dreams Go To Die” is an emotionally charged break-up song – Carpenters-esque in its execution and pretty much perfect. Grant doesn’t hold back with his lyrics and when he’s not describing the minutiae of his life’s low points and failed relationships he can be quite funny. For example, in “Sigourney Weaver” he sings “I feel just like Wynonna Ryder in that movie about vampires. And she couldn’t get that accent right and neither could that other guy”.
The album has a soft rock sheen throughout and its influences can be easily found in music from the ‘70s. He mixes the jaunty pop (Gilbert O’Sullivan, for example) type instrumental backing with lyrics that come from a much darker, spiteful place on “Silver Platter”: “I’m sorry that they didn’t hand it to me on a silver platter like they did to you”. The funky squelch of “Chicken Bones” is similar “Some days it’s like chicken bones you better fuck off now, you better leave me alone”.
Anyway, back to the minutiae – it’s heartbreaking in places. “Jesus Hates Faggots” describes his difficult relationship with his father “Don’t you know, Jesus he hates faggots son, I thought I told you that when you were young”. Interestingly, the instrumental break in the song sounds remarkably like Queen. He describes his greatest desperation in the title track: “And when the shit got really, really out of hand, I had it all the way up to my hairline”. And “Who’s going to be the one who’s going to save me from myself? You’d better bring a stun gun and perhaps a crowbar”. The cymbals smash and the band sound like they’re punching their instruments as he sings, emphasising the loud in the songs quiet/loud dynamic.
Other highlights are “It’s Easier” and “Outer Space”. A great album.
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