John Grant - Grey Tickles, Black Pressure (Bella Union) 2015
On HBO’s Talking Funny Ricky Gervais describes Louis CK’s comedy with, “This is a man falling apart for my pleasure.” That’s the feeling transmitted by the former lead vocalist of The Czars.
Grey Tickles, Black Pressure (which can be translated to “middle age nightmare”) doesn’t feel just to be in parallel with the comedy world. Grant seems to walk on the same tracks of people like CK, Bill Burr, George Carlin, Gervais, Bill Hicks, etc. “I can’t believe I’ve missed NY during the 70s / I could have gotten a head start in the world of diseases / I’m sure that I would have contracted every single solitary thing,” he sings on the title track. The funnily dangerous, awkward, and untamed John Grant is revealed once again. But he goes on with brilliant punchlines like “You probably went to Chernobyl for your honeymoon” (“You & Me”). Like any great comedian, Grant knows that, “He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.” The definition of love quoted from 1 Corinthians 13:4 that opens and closes the album is an affirmation of the positive pole’s existence on Grant’s electrical circuit.
Grant is an astute motherfucker, his music can be as itchy as his thoughts and as profound/witty as his lyrics. Whether you like it or not, John Grant is one of the best, most crafty songwriters of this generation.