John Grant is having a rough week. Not only is he suffering from a nasty flu and a throbbing toothache as he kicks off his first solo headlining U.S. tour, but the lover for whom he wrote painfully intimate songs like "Caramel," ended things recently by telling him "I don't know you." "They say addicts confuse intensity and intimacy. That has been a painful realization for me," Grant admits. Grant delivers both in spades, on Queen of Denmark
, a record that has flown under the radar since its release in April, but is now picking up steam after being named Mojo
magazine's album of the year. Backed by his label-mates, Midlake who provide astonishingly authentic recreations of '70s MOR ballads and slippery '80s synth symphonies, Grant's lyrics range from rageful invective, to lush romanticism to mordant humor, all the while, never sparing himself a cold, hard look.