Track listing (key track in bold)

1. Pale Green Ghosts
2. Black Belt
3. GMF
4. Vietnam
5. It Doesn’t Matter To Him
6. Why Don’t You Love Me Anymore
7. You Don’t Have To
8. Sensitive New Age Guy
9. Ernest Borgnine
10. I Hate This Town
11. Glacier

Those who knew John Grant and his band The Czars will have laughed at those late to the party upon the release of Grant’s previous album, Queen of Denmark. Such was the critical acclaim heaped upon it that it’s hard to appreciate that no-one had really heard of him. He sings effortlessly about anything on his mind, no matter how painful, serious or downright funny.

After a few listens of Queen of Denmark it really ingrained itself into me, with some amazing 70’s singer songwriter type stuff you would hear on a Harry Nilsson album, or a good Elton John album. Grant was backed to great effect on that album by Midlake.

Pale Green Ghosts is an entirely different listen. It was made in Iceland, after Grant had found out he had the HIV virus. It is electronic and cold, but still retains a humour and warmth in some of the lyrics. Grant is also extremely open about his sexuality and HIV diagnosis, specifically on the track Ernest Borgnine.

Anyone looking for similar sounds to his previous record will find a couple of tracks, such as GMF, which is similar to It’s Easier and Where Dreams Go To Die on the last album.

Pale Green Ghosts is technically very good, musically great, but from a personal point of view I preferred Queen of Denmark. But then I have always preferred analogue music to digital. But John Grant does now have two albums that cover both bases, and both are excellent. So, something for everyone then.

3.5 guitars

About thomasjford

I like Movies and Music and most things popular culture.


  1. I think I feel the same about this album. It’s very VERY good but not quite as impressive from start to finish as Queen Of Denmark. Then again, that’s a tough act to follow, and anyone checking him out for the first time with Pale Green Ghosts is in for a treat. I have Queen Of Denmark on vinyl (2-LPs in a gatefold sleeve) and it sounds spectacular. I only own one Czars album (Goodbye) which I got after falling in love with QoD and it’s really good as well. At some point I need to check out more of their music.

    • I have a different czars album, but I’ve never got into it like I did Queen of Denmark. I just love the songs on that album, stuff like Silver Platter Club and Chicken bones are loads of fun and could have been Nilsson songs. What are your faves Rich?

      • I don’t think there’s a weak song on Queen Of Denmark, and on any given day I might consider any of the songs my favorite, but in looking at the track listing again I definitely remember loving “Sigourney Weaver,” “Wanna Go To Marz,” “Jesus Hates F**gots” and “Outer Space.” All I know is that this was one of the rare albums that critics adored which really lived up to the hype. How many new releases do we read about every year that are supposed to be the most amazing, groundbreaking pieces of work only to be disappointing when we listen to it?

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