Three years ago I had never heard the name John Grant. But that year, Mojo named his debut solo album Queen of Denmark their favorite of the year. And like a lot of people who read that review, I was at first puzzled. Then I listened, and based on the deeply personal songs, his haunting vocals, and the warm arrangements (he was backed on the album by the band Midlake), I understood. It’s been a favorite album in regular rotation for me ever since.
It’s great news, then, that Grant finally has a followup album. Called Pale Green Ghosts, it’s already out in the U.K. and is due in stores in the U.S. on May 14.
From what I’ve heard so far, Pale Green Ghosts adds an electronic edge to his arrangements. But again, it’s all about the songs. Grant recorded the album in Iceland, where is currently living, but as he told NPR, the synth sounds he chose to showcase this time around are not directly related to where he happens to be living.
“Iceland has very little to do with the decision to make a record which is more synth-based,” Grant explained in an email. “That decision was made long before I started making music, because electronic music has always been one of my greatest passions and the ’80s are probably my favorite decade for music. But it is true that this album is most definitely about my adolescence and therefore MUST be set to these sounds because they simply were the backdrop to that period in my life.”
The Guardian also posted a live version of “Pale Green Ghosts” from the Other Voices Festival in London.
Grant will be on tour this summer, too. Check his website for dates.
Pale Green Ghosts tracklisting:
1. Pale Green Ghosts
5. It Doesn’t Matter To Him
6. Why Don’t You Love Me Anymore
7. You Don’t Have To
8. Sensitive New Age Guy
9. Ernest Borgnine
10. I Hate This Town