John Grant’s GREY TICKLES, BLACK PRESSURE abum was produced by John Congleton (St. Vincent, Swans) and mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, lyrically and musically the 12 original songs represent Grant’s most ambitious work, cementing his reputation as the most brutally honest, caustic, profound and funny diarist of the human condition.
The album opens in an unsettling swirl of overlapping voices repeating 1st Corinthians 13:4 in multiple languages before dissolving into fuzz, and closes with the same passage read clearly, this time by a young girl. In between, Grant’s depth and range are vividly present as he further refines and entwines his two principal strands of musical DNA, the sumptuous tempered ballad and the taut, fizzing electronic pop song.
“Voodoo Doll” is an ode to a depressed lover, drenched in bright synths and pulsing bass lines, while “Guess How I Know” is a bonafide hell-raiser, its snarling guitar licks layered with distortion as Grant sings about a toxic yet irresistible relationship. Title track, “Grey Tickles, Black Pressure” blends swelling strings and choral harmonies with Grant’s darkly biting humor, as he tackles his HIV diagnosis with equal parts confusion and clarity (“I’m supposed to believe that there’s some guy who’ll take the pain away / There are children who have cancer, and so all bets are off / ‘Cause I can’t compete with that”). Tracey Thorn, Amanda Palmer, and former Banshees drummer Budgie appear as guests on the album.
Grant recently performed with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra for BBC Radio 6 Music and just wrapped a North American tour with The Pixies. Grant will tour North America in support of the new music with a full band this October that includes a stop in Toronto on October 19 at The Mod Club.
GREY TICKLES, BLACK PRESSURE TRACKLIST
2. Grey Tickles, Black Pressure
3. Snug Slacks
4. Guess How I Know
5. You and Him
6. Down Here
7. Voodoo Doll
8. Global Warming
9. Magma Arrives
10. Black Blizzard
12. No More Tangles
NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES
10/13 – Washington, DC – The Hamilton
10/14 – Philadelphia, PA – World Café Live
10/16 – Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair
10/17 – New York, NY – Le Poisson Rouge
10/19 – Toronto, ON – Mod Club
10/21 – Chicago, IL – Martyrs’
10/22 – Minneapolis, MN – Cedar Cultural Center
10/24 – Boulder, CO – Fox Theatre
10/27 – Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour
10/29 – San Francisco, CA – The Independent