John Grant - Love Is Magic - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

John Grant - Love Is Magic

by paul_guyet Rating:8 Release Date:2018-10-12
John Grant - Love Is Magic
John Grant - Love Is Magic

John Grant has the market cornered when it comes to snarky catharsis.* He’s also pretty great at obliterating one’s heart with a sledgehammer in one song and then eliciting snorts of laughter in the next. Love Is Magic is dense, consisting of ten tracks clocking in at just under an hour. On one hand, it could be argued that Grant lets things unfold, not rushing, allowing the listener to feel everything he set out for them to feel. On the other hand…does, every song here have to be as long as it is? I believe that decision will come down to how much each individual listener enjoys synthesizers.

The event begins with “Metamorphosis"; fat, springy synths accompanied by seemingly random lyrics (“14-year old boy rapes 80-year old man/tickets to the Met/sweet corn from a can/baby's in the whitest house playing with his toys/earthquakes forest fires/hot Brazilian boys/67 yogurt flavors which one do you want?/can’t decide on toothpaste/Immanuel Kant) which then dissolve into a dark, uneasy interlude where context is given as Grant sings "as I enjoy distraction/she just slipped away/it didn’t seem to matter/how much she had prayed/they took her in an ambulance/and that is where she died/and still unto this very day/I don’t think I have cried”. Then, it’s back to the almost Oingo Boingo vibe as he continues his list.

Fuck me, that’s just the first five minutes and change of the album.

But it’s not all gloom and doom: ”Preppy Boy” is a cheeky, straightforward romp about offering to fuck a preppy dude who may or may not know he’s gay (come on now, preppy boy/if you’ve got an opening then I am unemployed/I’m so sick and tired of waiting in line/call me up if you’re down and you got the time), “Smug Cunt” is about…a smug cunt, absolutely dripping with Grant’s acidic vitriol, and while it maybe goes on a bit long (this horse is beaten, dead, buried, exhumed, and shat on) it’s enjoyably sharp the whole time. There are also heartwarming/heartwrenching moments like “Is He Strange” and the closer “Touch and Go”. The big winner on Love Is Magic, however, is “Diet Gum”. I’m not even going to address it, just listen and enjoy.
And, of course, everything is delivered in Grant's signature decadent purr…it’s like being wrapped in warm towels…

While maybe not as tight as 2015’s Grey Tickles, Black Pressure, Grant continues to deepen and widen both our smiles and the gashes he’s carved into our hearts.


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