x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Grant Hart: The Argument

An ambitious, 20-track concept album based on John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost.

Grant Hart
The Argument
Domino
****

Dave Grohl is among those who have drawn inspiration from Hüsker Dü's Grant Hart, another drummer who quickly demonstrated considerable singer-songwriter skills when he stepped out from behind the kit.

Here, Hart brings passion and a questing intellect to The Argument, an ambitious, 20-track concept album based on Paradise Lost, John Milton's epic poem.

There's a darkly theatrical tint to much of the music, but Hart's chaotic found-sound montages, spiky guitars and sinister organ motifs are offset by some choice melodies - and he throws some delicious curveballs.

Underneath the Apple Tree is a 1920s-sounding, ukulele-driven pastiche sung from the perspective of the serpent that tempted Eve, while Sin, sung from the perspective of the Devil himself, channels The Doors' channelling Weimar cabaret.

The Argument is an unwieldy, somewhat challenging listen in places, but driving, psych-rock nuggets It Isn't Love and (It Was a) Most Disturbing Dream offer thrilling, tail-end reward for the patient. Like Wordsworth, Nick Cave and Neil Gaiman, Hart has shown that Milton's magnum opus can be an abundantly fruitful inspiration.