Pale Green Ghosts
When John Grant supported Efterklang at the Usher Hall, I confess to being a little underwhelmed by an artist whose Queen Of Denmark album had featured in many a top 10 of the year 2010. It's interesting to speculate how those who loved that debut solo disc will take to the follow up. Gone is the real instrument soft-rock backing supplied by members of Midlake, replaced by a brand of electronica that sounds to my ears no less dated, courtesy of Icelandic producer Biggi Viera. There is a preciousness about Grant that makes you think he sees every move he makes as braver than it really is, and this radical new direction seems less dynamic than he believes. While the lyrics to Blackbelt have wit and appealing cadences, it seems unlikely that the instruction "You need to get over yourself" is as self-reverential as it might be, and the song is typically slight. The electronic pulse and sax obligato of Ernest Borgnine is the best of what is on offer here.