John Grant The Art Of The Lie

Label
Bella Union
Released
14th June 2024

Format Info

CD
2LP pale pink vinyl

John Grant began thinking about The Art of The Lie in the Autumn of 2022. Earlier that year, John had been introduced to Ivor Guest, producer and composer at Grace Jones’ Southbank show, the finale of her Meltdown Festival. They began talking about two records Guest had worked on, ‘Hurricane’ for Jones, ‘Prohibition’ for Brigitte Fontaine. “Grace and Brigitte are two very big artists for me,” says Grant. “I love the albums he did for them. ‘Hurricane’ is an indispensable piece of Grace’s catalogue.” An idea was sparked. “I said, I really think you should do this next record with me. He said, I think you’re right.”

A year and a half later, the result is John Grant’s most opulent, cinematic, luxurious album yet: The Art of The Lie. As the title suggests, the lyrical ingenuity counterweighted under all this considered musical largesse is as dark as its production is epic and bold. Ivor Guest and his cast-list of storied musicians have brought the drama, flecks of intrigue as beguiling as Laurie Anderson or The Art of Noise. John Grant has earthed it in deeply felt humanity and pitch-black realism. “The clothing that it’s dressed up in makes it more palatable,” he says. “It helps the bitter pill go down. Music and humour are how I’ve always dealt with the dark side of life. Come to think of it, it’s how I deal with the good side too.”

Grant likens the musical flavours of The Art of the Lie to the sumptuous Vangelis soundtrack for Bladerunner or the Carpenters if John Carpenter were also a member. While undeniably a John Grant record, nestling humour into tragedy, bleeding anger into compassion, there is a musical ambition and nerve to The Art of the Lie which offsets its most political and personal moments.

The hard juxtaposition of beauty and cruelty makes for compelling listening on Grant’s sixth album, a record that ties childhood trauma to hardened adult after-effects, twinning both to the political malaise of America 2024, a country being drawn to the precipice of its own destruction. “We were allowed to feel like we belonged for a couple of seconds,” says Grant. “Not anymore.”