The name John Grant was unfamilar to me until I read a piece preceding the release of this, his debut solo effort. My interest was pricked due to the band who provide the backing, the peerless Midlake, whose The Courage of Others album is my current album of the year. Ironically, this could be the album to eclipse it. Lyrically, Queen of Denmark deals heavily with John's struggle with homophobia, self doubt and self loathing, but he is blessed with a lightness of touch and wicked sense of humour resulting in subject matter that could, in less talented hands, come across as self pity, instead ending up simultaneously heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud hilarious. Musically, a varied selection ranging from AOR style pop/rock drenched with harmonies to gorgeous, dramatic torch songs a la Rufus Wainwright at his most melodic to upbeat show tunes...with added swearing. Excellent. Marry that with Grant's stunning baritone and Midlake's understated yet virtuosic backing, this really is a collection to cherish forever.