The last time our winding path intertwined with that of idiosyncratic Denver crooner John Grant, he was busy adulating both Efterklang and Iceland where he’d recently completed work on the record from which this lead track, Pale Green Ghosts, takes its name. The time before that, he was relaying the by then somewhat settled dismay at having recently been diagnosed HIV-positive. Grant has always been a man of contrast, and certainly this preliminary introduction to the forthcoming sophomore solo effort is a sonic world away from the in itself richly varied Queen of Denmark début: a grizzly electro pulse gives way thirty seconds in to Grant’s inimitably honeyed trill, though lyrically his tongue remains as acidic as ever. “I hope you get everything you wanted boy/ I hope you conquer the world and turn it into your toy/ But don’t come crying when you’re forced to learn the truth”, he seethes as only he can, before a gaggle of remarkably Bondian horns start to blare over the metronomic clicks and glitches. Like a Google Map may pinpoint all the places you’ve actively meddled with the internet in some way, shape, or social media form the track rides the winds of Icelandic chill, whilst also embracing the symphonic proclivities favoured throughout Efterklang’s sublime Piramida recording as well as the inscrutable techno of Berlin where Grant has previously resided. An inspired return.
Pale Green Ghosts is expected March 11th on Bella Union.