John Grant Queen of Denmark

John Grant Queen of Denmark
Though I lack the patience to verify if the new Midlake will really "grow on me," no effort at all was required to embrace a Midlake-backed debut by former Czars singer John Grant. The loose '70s vibe concocted by the band is steered into a variety of vistas, from funky to stately, by Grant's elliptical song craft. First single "Marz" is a perfect cosmic amalgam of Neil Young and David Bowie meeting at a Sugar Mountain Free Festival of Memory. Acid-witted goofs like "Chicken Bones," "Silver Platter Club" and the quietly incendiary "Jesus Hates Faggots" pull together the good-humoured crankiness of masters like Harry Nilsson or Randy Newman. Played straight, these songs could collapse into an AOR/MOR sinkhole, but the soft rock trappings are truly just traps for the emotional chess match played within. If there's more where this came from, let's have it, now. (Bella Union)