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John Grant - Love Is Magic (Album Review)

Thursday, 18 October 2018 Written by Jacob Brookman

Since getting sober, John Grant has spent the best part of a decade developing a superb catalogue of camp, alternative electronica. The former Czars frontman’s fourth solo album, ‘Love is Magic’, is a punchy, ‘80s-infused grooveathon that presents highly characterful lyrics, retro flavours, tight arrangements and synthetic melodic motifs.

Preppy Boy is a good example of the album’s signature sound. A thrusting keyboard bassline is accompanied by a mathematical patch that transports us into a neon melee of shoulder pads and orange moon boots. This is fun music that wears its vintage influences like a dayglo shawl; joyously effete in a way that previous generations of LGBT performers may have been forced to obfuscate.

Though the production is consistently inventive, the real quality is derived from the humorous personas adopted in Grant’s songs.

In the past, his candour has proven problematic, with his debut album, ‘Queen of Denmark’, branding his boyfriend his one true love, only for its follow-up to brand the now ex-boyfriend a piece of shit. With ‘Love is Magic’ one feels as though he is more consciously creating character sketches, which in turn frees up the writing to go further.

This is best deployed on Diet Gum, a Talking Heads-style bitchfest that has Grant’s rhyming couplets descend into a vicious - if ludicrous - rant: “By the way, your bedside manner is reminiscent of a chuckle of Hyenas except…yes it is a chuckle of hyenas, turdface / It’s a collective noun. Do you even know what a collective noun is, stupidzilla? / Hmm let’s see - I think your group would be called a ‘misery’, or perhaps a ‘patheticness’ of fuckwits.’

While a whole album of juvenile meanness could be exhausting, there’s enough self depreciation in the music to keep it fun and relatively light. The best song here is the lead single He’s Got His Mother’s Hips, which is a gloriously taut disco anthem that lands somewhere between Erasure and Scissor Sisters. Like the album as whole, it presents a unique form of musical absurdity with vim and excitement.

John Grant Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Mon October 29 2018 - BRIGHTON Dome
Tue October 30 2018 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton
Wed October 31 2018 - BATH Bath Forum
Fri November 02 2018 - SHEFFIELD Octagon
Sat November 03 2018 - MANCHESTER Albert Hall
Wed January 30 2019 - LEEDS O2 Academy Leeds
Thu January 31 2019 - GATESHEAD Sage Gateshead
Fri February 01 2019 - GLASGOW Kings Theatre
Sun February 03 2019 - HULL Bonus Arena
Mon February 04 2019 - LIVERPOOL Philharmonic Hall
Tue February 05 2019 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Thu February 07 2019 - CAMBRIDGE Corn Exchange
Fri February 08 2019 - SOUTHAMPTON O2 Guildhall Southampton
Sun February 10 2019 - MANCHESTER Albert Hall
Mon February 11 2019 - CARDIFF St David's Hall
Wed March 27 2019 - LIMERICK University Concert Hall
Sat March 30 2019 - GALWAY LEISURELAND
Sun March 31 2019 - DUBLIN Bord Gais Energy Theatre

Click here to compare & buy John Grant Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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