John Grant - Grey Tickles, Black Pressure
John Grant knows that life is what you make of it. He has been very candid about the twists and turns his life has taken him and how grateful he is to be where he is now. The choices we make in even small things can have profound effect. His songwriting reflects all of these experiences and the fruit they bore. His intelligence and insight is easily heard throughout Grey Tickles, Black Pressure. The dance beats and eclectic electronic rhythms add just the right level of levity to the mix.
Disappointing was not. It is a strong contestant to be his best track to date. It, and so much of the rest of the album, really showcase how John Grant is much more comfortable in his skin these days. Even the last album, Pale Green Ghosts, still had echos of self-doubt and questing for self acceptance. Here he has stepped out with strength and belief in his abilities and the rightness of his ideas and feelings. Snug Slacks makes me smile and laugh out loud at his brazen leering. You have to have balls to sing a song like that.
There is still some brooding, self-reflection, and angst, but it all feels healthy and hopeful. Black Blizzard, Global Warming, and Magma Arrives all have plenty of dark material to plunder. He has escaped the fall of many musicians whose careers didn't survive their happiness. In this way I have to say this isn't my favorite John Grant record, but I am most proud of him for what he has achieved with this record. He, of course, gives magnificent vocals. No singer today can rival his ability to convey emotional honesty. I knew he could make me cry, seduce and sooth me, and rise me to anger, but now I find he can also amuse and make me laugh.
A2 Grey Tickles, Black Pressure
A3 Snug Slacks
A4 Guess How I Know
B1 You & Him
B2 Down Here
B3 Voodoo Doll
C1 Global Warming
C2 Magma Arrives
C3 Black Blizzard
D2 No More Tangles
The pre-order vinyl colors were perfectly beautiful and the photography booklet reflects his amusement and appreciation of everyday items. You can see the sideways, fringe dwelling attitude is still alive in his glowing eyes, bow-tie, and gore encrusted portraits. It is a great package.