Absurdist Satire Rules in John Grant’s ‘Love Is Magic’

John Grant’s latest solo album Love Is Magic has something for everyone; from funk and alt rock to wavy synths and videogame music, acoustic guitars and bouncing beats – the album focuses on themes of transformation, temporariness, and escape, tying the whole thing together with a satirical style and casual absurdism.

This album jolts, I find myself enjoying a song and its own individual style before the next one leaves me slightly confused, forced to readjust whatever ideas I have for the type of album I’m listening to. Don’t get me wrong, this is a fun album to listen to, ‘metamorphosis’ and ‘Preppy Boy’ in particular are cool enough to express the sophistication and refined sense of an artist’ fourth album, whilst interesting enough to keep it enjoyable.

The Atari videogame sounds and the 8-bit solos throughout help to justify the weirdness through a close relation to pubescent nostalgia. There is a very clear sense of changeability going on here, since many of the tracks refer to some sense of transformation; whether that’s through grief (see ‘metamorphosis’ again), tone (see ‘Tempest’), or physical changes accounted for by growing up and growing older (see the last track, ‘Touch and Go’). This is a very meta album in that you’ll feel the changes on a physical level the deeper inside you get. So whilst a bit weird, Grant has also created an album that’s got just enough wonderful in it to keep you focused.

Joe Mason

Header image via John Grant