I’ve spent much of this week staring at the artwork of the new John Grant album. The record itself – that’s not gripping me to anywhere near the same extent; familiarity with the back-story, the scope of the lyrical self-exposure, an appreciation of darkly-slanted electronic backdrops – and yet there’s still something missing from my musical understanding of Pale Green Ghosts. Every time I place needle on vinyl I will myself to like it more – to feel more attuned with all the strong reviews and the peer approval – only to find, once I’ve hit the run-out groove, that I haven’t really got it, yet again.
Its cover, however – that’s a wonderful proposition. An exquisitely composed photograph, full of detail and mood, in which Grant sits glowering like a wise nineteenth century American president zapped straight from a daguerreotype. I’m hoping that if I stare long enough, some of this wisdom may rub off on me. I’ll let you know how that’s going.
Today’s review of a random track found on Soundcloud – selected by borrowing a phrase from whatever gibberish happens to be at the summit of my Twitter timeline when typing hour rolls around – is a tribute to composure and self restraint.
Me – I would have gone batshit crazy. Entirely on principal. Also, throwing the words ‘Panic Over’ into the Soundcloud search engine presents a track of the same name, by Hampshire hard rock quartet Wisefool. One of the biggest issues I have with this strand of music is that, despite dressing itself up as edgy and abrasive, it fails to hide its inert conservatism. It’s not that ‘Panic Over’ is intrinsically bad (although the lyrics are dreadful, and jut out of the riff-work at highly awkward angles); rather, this is something we’ve all heard a thousand times before, back in the eighties and early nineties, and it was dull and unengaging back then, let alone these days. This track plays things exactly by the book – Metal For Dummies style – and whilst it isn’t as painful as some of these future random tracks are going to be, five and a half minutes is an awfully long time to wait for stimulation. Hopefully they have plans to record some John Grant covers in the near future.
Wisefool / Panic Over