Review: Grey Tickles, Black Pressure by John Grant

Grey Tickles, Black Pressure by John GrantJohn Grant’s third album, Grey Tickles, Black Pressure, is quite wicked. There’s no way it should work: here he is, being bleak and deep and ridiculous, even; here he is, doing so by flicking through every page in the pop song textbook and cherry-picking the best approaches, if not the ones that don’t necessarily fit the vibe his lyrics suggests; here he is, somehow making it all compelling. But that’s not exactly a surprise. John’s done this in his previous albums: a slightly sardonic tone enabling his compelling lyrics to creep through. Eventually you learn to go with the whiplash – the record begins with a straightforward ballad and then starts exploring all sorts of weird synths and electronic instruments, and then, “oh, yes, Amanda Palmer is here, and, oh, yes, Tracey Thorn, of course!” The beauty if Grey Tickles, Black Pressure is how it all manages to sound tight despite the many shifts – and then you get hit by his perspective. [NB] | 4/5

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