John Grant with Midlake – Queen of Denmark

January 01, 1970

(Bella Union/Yep Roc)


The fact that John Grant was weaned on ‘70s rock is
abundantly evident on this solo bow, which exudes all sorts of anachronistic
influences. After all, when was the last time an artist emulated the Moody
Blues or, uh, Stealers Wheel (!?) and put pipes, synths, strings and mellotrons
into the mix? Nevertheless, with new pals Midlake in tow – a band that knows a
little something about atmospheric ambience – Grant follows his tempestuous
break-up with the Czars by mining a elegiac approach embossed with a rich,
soothing sheen.


All this would seem like something out of a midsummer’s
night dream were it not for the fact that beneath this ethereal haze there
resides some disturbing sentiments. “Some days are just chicken bones,” he
grouses on the otherwise agreeable “Chicken Bones,” before sneering, “Better
fuck off now, better leave me alone/I’m about to explode.”  Then there’s this, on the bouncy and bubbly
“Silver Platter Club:” “I didn’t give a shit what anyone thinks of me…”  Or take too, his study of savage bigotry,
tellingly titled “Jesus Hates Faggots.” 
Clearly, the less said, the better.


It’s a bizarre synthesis, but anyone with a fondness for
epoch set-ups and sprawling melodic tapestries will still find a certain
nostalgic tug in lush, gently cushioned melodies like “TC and Honeybear,”
“Marz” and “Caramel.”  Consider Queen of Denmark a royal return… with a
decidedly tempestuous edge.

Standout Tracks: “TC and Honeybear,”
“Marz,” “Jesus Hates Faggots” LEE ZIMMERMAN


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