Love Is Magic – John Grant (Review-ish)

I’ve not bought the album yet and had my first listen to it proper on Spotify last night. This won’t be a strict review, just a general mulling over of my first impressions.

I was already familiar with three tracks, the title track, He’s Got His Mother’s Hips and Is He Strange.

At last week’s talk about the album, John said his favourite track was Metamorphosis so I was intrigued to hear it. He seemed to suggest others thought it an unusual album opener. I don’t have any judgement on that…no experience of setting tracklists so I wouldn’t know. It certainly feels like a juxtaposing “two songs in one” affair, with those almost “stream of consciousness” verses jarring against that middle refrain. I like the way it works.

The title track took a while to grow on me. The thing I am loving, along with the overall assult of synths, is the drum sounds coming from Budgie. I may have this info wrong – I can’t double check it, but I am going to assume he plays drums on some tracks. I can’t find personnel info about the record. Budgie really does have a style of playing I like. He’s certainly going to be playing with John live, so I’m looking forward to that.

Tempest I think may just about be my fave track on the album. There’s a kind of simplicity to it I like. There’s not so much an assult to the senses going on…which makes it seem more epic…contradictorily.

Preppy Boy’s fun.

Smug Cunt…well, the title sounds kinda Carry On…but once you get past the sniggering of him using the most explosive of expletives…it really is a rather cutting and vitriolic track. Smug Cunt is NOT meant to be taken lightly. Not by how it sounds to my ears anyway.

He’s Got His Mother’s Hips on the other hand is pure funkadelic Grant. Diet Gum continues that sarcastic playfulness he’s so good at.

Is He Strange sounds like it could have been off Pale Green Ghosts, really. A proper ballad, and possibly the most “synth light” song on the album as he has actually reverted back to piano for it. On first listen with the track, I liked it to begin with and then the track just lost me about half way through. It kind of just…meanders. I dunno.

The Common Snipe…well, any song that is referencing birds is going to reel me in.

Touch And Go I have little recollection of, to be honest. I can’t really make any comment on that.

Overall…I’m liking it. I had seen some not favourable reviews of it…but equally some very good ones. It’s dividing opinion.

On first listen…I don’t think the album is as strong, lyrically, as previous albums have been.

And I said this wasn’t going to be a review? Lol. Well, it has kind of ended up one. But it’s all down to personal taste. And that is the absolute beauty of music streaming services now. You can listen to things, check them out before you decide to commit or not.

At the moment, I think I’ll be buying the album. It works as a cohesive unit. It can be jarring at times, sonically…but I like that. I like to feel on guard. It does fall away at the end for me though…well, upon first listen anyway.

I’m gonna give it a few more listens and come back to this…what is now a review and see how things change, or IF they change.

I shall leave you with track three, Tempest…


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