Singer-songwriter John Grant took a break from touring is new album, “Pale Green Ghosts”, to play a packed house at the Hammer Museum last week. A break from his new electronically-influenced sound, reflecting the influence of long-time collaborator (and Hercules & Love Affair frontman) Andy Butler, to play beautiful and melodic ballads on piano.
Grant’s voice is haunting, and he sings often of haunts–of memories and love lost or gone astray. He is witty and blunt, with foulmouthed breakup songs like “GMF” (Greatest Mother Fucker) and “Queen of Denmark”, but also lusciously poetic, in songs like “Glacier”.
According to Grant, many of his songs address the psychological effects of coming out and occupying a marginal identity. This conflict plays out in the smaller, microcosmic context of relationships, making the songs not just about queer histories but about universal themes like love and loss.