Mike Cobley about John Grant's wonderful LP. (And Faceculture interview)

Some of the most beautiful sounds of the last twelve months rose phoenix like out of the suffocation and despair of the scars - both physical and emotional - of a boy growing up gay in the conservative surrounds of Parker, Colorado.

John Grant, formerly of the Czars, has suffered beatings, rejection and depression, but has since pieced himself back together and released Queen of Denmark, a stunning solo debut album.

But the healing wasn't achieved without the support and help of other musicians; in this case, Midlake, a much lauded American rock band responsible for the heart-wrenching sounds on Van Occupanther and Courage Of Others.

"We first heard The Czars on our first trip to London," recalls Midlake bassist Paul Alexander.

"His voice was the first thing I noticed - John has such this incredible baritone. But we didn't go crazy over him until we saw him live, and we then got him to support us on the Van Occupanther tour in the US. At the end, we said he had to come to Denton and make an album."

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