czars

It scarcely needs saying that for the vast majority of musicians a life in music is a long, tough, financially unrewarding road. And while John Grant is currently, deservedly, enjoying both commercial success and critical acclaim, for a period of ten years from the mid-nineties onwards he was leader of a band who garnered a decent amount of the latter but precious little of the former.

This retrospective, drawn from the three Czars albums released by Bella Union between 2000 and 2004, bears the unmistakable hallmarks of Grant’s songwriting – brushed with melancholy, starkly beautiful, and brimful of lyrics, which are at times laceratingly truthful and at others bitterly self-recriminating. Highlights include the beautiful male/female harmonies of ‘Lullaby 6000’, the simple piano and violin-led ‘Los’ and the alt-country infused, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Blly-esque ‘Paint The Moon’. Whaddayaknow, Grant has always been the musical genius he’s now recognised to be – it’s just that until recently the world never knew it. This record shines a powerful light into a musical history worthy of exposure.

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