There is something of the musical schizophrenic about the former Love and Money frontman, as he is torn between treading the country-tinged spiritual path or kicking back in the sleaze lounge. Going flat out in the latter direction, big James could probably run wee Huey and his Fun Lovin' Criminals out of town, but the gospel voices would be calling too loudly for him to go down that route. 'Blood Is Sweeter Than Honey' almost does the job by itself when heard live last week, although it sounds a little cosier on record, while 'Jacqueline's Shoes' is a typical Grant song title and possesses equally typical melodic qualities. Reservations? Well, 'Hey Renee' is a filler track, and the production is just a little too flat. But he has written some great tunes, and 'Does It All Add Up To Nothing' has to be one of the best.
Rating: 3 stars. Reviewed By: Colin Somerville
Once at the very forefront of the Silly Scottish Rockers in Vests movement as the leader of Friends Again and Love and Money, James Grant has settled into a less testosterone-fuelled middle age. My Thrawn (colloquial Scottish for stubborn) Glory is a lush, string-fuelled second solo album, although its clinical catholicism is its downfall. It nods variously towards country, AOR, kitsch, Tin Pan Alley and, on "Blood is Sweeter Than Honey," The The's Matt Johnson. But with so many stylistic masters, Grant falls between a number of stools. His voice is clear and deep, but rarely succeeds in making the emotional connection. Best of all is "Darkcountry," which broods convincingly in a way the faux sophistication of "Jacqueline's Shoes" or "Religion" never quite manage. Close, but too bloodless.
Rating: 3 stars. Reviewed By: John Aizlewood.
As frontman with funky Scottish outfit Love And Money in the late Eighties, James Grant failed to dent the Top Fifty UK singles chart, while the most successful of the bands four albums was 1991's Dogs In Traffic, [SIC] which reached the heady heights of Number 41.
Lack of commercial achievement hasn't lessened this man's songwriting skills though. This his second solo album is awash with warm, gentle and spacious country-tinged rock tunes, all topped with Grant's dark and velvety croon. Crisp acoustic strumming, lush strings, lonely bar-room piano and subtle brass are the order of the day here.
'My Thrawn Glory' is an album which takes its time. Laid-back, reflective, painstakingly crafted and tenderly touching. From the optimistic swell of 'Belle Of My Burlesque' through the desperate piano ballad 'Does It All Add Up To Nothing' to the jazzy twang of 'Blood Is Sweeter Than Honey' this is a romantic, life-affirming collection, with Grant's rich vocals having seldom sounded better.
Sadly shunted into a long forgotten siding marked great UK songwriters of the Eighties alongside Lloyd Cole, Dr Robert and the like, Grant may have to content himself with a much smaller audience than his talent deserves. But at least those of us in the know have him all to ourselves.
Rating: 3 1/2 stars. Reviewed By: Gary Crossing.
There are few unsung heroes about whom this writer feels more evangelical. For album after album, James Grant, one of Scottish mid-'80s hopefuls Love And Money, has been honing a songwriting gift that was pretty special from the start, and My Thrawn Glory is all that fans would expect and more. Grant's poetic lyrics don't squander a sylllable, and with a dark night of the soul here and a sustaining epiphany there, much of what he conveys is a bit like life. Musically, there's an increasingly effortless classicism at play. Religion, for example, would have made a very nice cover version for Elvis: "What time does not heal, it will consecrate," notes Grant sagely, before tipping the hat to Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" in the fade-out. Better yet is the title track, its honeyed melancholy irresistible, Grant's guitar solo riding the string section with a lazy, easy brilliance. Isn't it about time you finally lent him an ear?
Reviewed By: James McNair.
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