Ghost in the machine
John Grant is back – and he’s gone all electro on us.
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John Grant has a story to tell. The release of his acclaimed debut solo offering, Queen of Denmark, saw him receive MOJO’s album of 2010 award, as well as our own high seal of approval. Fresh from writing and recording, the Denver-born singer has now returned with a hauntingly euphoric sound, composed of more than just electro beats.
Pale Green Ghosts (watch below) is the title track taken from Grant’s sophomore album, a record that brings to life his recent experiences. Grant has been remarkably honest about his drug and alcohol addiction, as well as his past struggles in coming to terms with his sexuality. During a summer gig alongside Hercules and Love Affair, Grant also made the admirable decision to announce his HIV-positive status in front of a live audience – a courageous admission, and bravely sincere, particularly within his gay following.
It’s this character that has allowed Grant to evolve even further. Pale Green Ghosts tells the tale of his desire to escape the quiet surroundings of his hometown and seek bigger and better things. This longing for more is mirrored in the track itself, which begins with soft, pulsating momentum and ascends into a glorious height; familiar territory for long-time Grant fans.
The album was recorded mainly in Iceland, a place Grant says he has fallen in love with. Has he been listening to Bjork? It’s likely and that, of course, is no bad thing. Combining his many influences and tastes, the record is packed with dance-flavoured tracks over heavy synths and that powerful, soothing voice. Grant is a survivor and packs a punch in all that he does.
With a sold-out show at Heaven in March, and an appearance at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in May, Grant is conquering 2013 with his signature sound and inspiring presence. “No one in this world is gonna stop me”, sings Grant on his latest track. Well, if Sinead O’Connor is cited as one of your biggest fans, why would you? This man is set to soar.
Pale Green Ghosts is released on 11 March.
Words: Daniel Phelan