Jesus Hates Faggots: John Grant, Queen of Denmark.

Quite how ex-Czars front man John Grant still hasn’t drifted into the general musical conscience of modern times is bafflingly inexplicable; Queen of Denmark blurs boundaries between the overtly theatrical eccentricity of Rufus Wainwright, the subtle solemnity of Lawrence Arabia and the surreal wealth of tones barked by Super Furry Animals. And ought herald universal adoration.

Grant’s been through his fair share of rough with the smoothness entailed by being snapped up and housed by the forever-majestic Bella Union label and lyrically, albeit enveloping certain sentiments within whimsical metaphors, confronts growing up gay in a devoutly religious household amidst the mundanity of the gridlocked uniformity of Denver, Colorado, battles with fags, booze and all that jazz and the small matter of staring into a suicidal abyss. Scissor Sisters this ain’t. Although that said, Chicken Bones slumps about with a sultry pizzazz that Jake Sears could shake his sequins to. And as if Grant’s bruised baritone weren’t already enough to invite, entice and enthral the sturdiest of emotional dispositions, Midlake perform as the LP’s “house band” of sorts, and its their organically wistful, understated majesty that oft shines through here like ethereal sunlight cruising through Venetian blinds before gleaming incandescently on laminate wood flooring. Marz for instance, an ode to Grant’s favouritest childhood haunt, a sweetshop that’s since been hollowed out and deserted, pertains to the intoxicating flutes and swooning strings that enable The Trials of Van Occupanther to scale such great heights. However, Grant himself has so many chips on his shoulder, many of which are exposed within Queen of Denmark that he could supply the golden arches with salty sticks for a month or two, and some are revealed rather more subtly than others. Jesus Hates Faggots is one of his less implicit rants, with Grant lambasting religion’s spurring of homophobic unease and arrives at a rather choice time, given the headlines rolling out of the Vatican and straight onto front pages of nigh on every publication over recent weeks. Where Dreams Go To Die, dedicated to his estranged and past lover “Charlie” comes across as something of a Wainwright hybrid, chameleonic as such it could slip quite discreetly into any one of Martha, Rufus or Loudon’s tracklistings. Yet Grant’s at his most devastatingly acute whilst chastising the bigoted society that Middle America imbues and holds in the highest of esteems; Sigourney Weaver is not a layered vocal harmony short of heart-arresting, an acoustic space-age, fist-pumping stance of solidarity that Wayne Coyne may come to adore to a similar extent to rolling about in plastic bubbles over baying throngs like a hamster chasing an apple core. The track exotically connects Weaver blowing the gunged guts out of Aliens and the ignorance of his trust fund schoolyard contemporaries, driving Porsches at sixteen years old and 160 miles per hour. As gushing acoustica flows down from Neil Young and John Martyn through decades and generations, John Grant’s certainly drinking from their chalice of do-or-die empowerment.