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4.8 out of 5 stars21
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 18 May 2006
This is an absolutely gorgeous album. John Grant has a voice that sends chills down your spine. His rendition of these covers, especially Abba's 'Angel Eyes' (and how!), "You don't know what love is" and the sublime "Song to the Siren", are very moving and once heard, will echo in your mind for long afterward. Lovely vocals, rousing chorus, understated acoustic and pedal (well most of the time!), all make for an album that will last.
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on 28 March 2006
I don't normally like albums full of cover versions, but I'm so excited I just had to pass the word on - even though I'm still listening to it for the first time and the last track is about to finish as I write this review. The combination of John Grant's awesome voice and the superb moody laid-back minimalist instrumentation is just phenomenal.
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VINE VOICEon 5 March 2006
This album was released on Cocteau Twins' Simon Raymonde and Robin Guthrie's label, Bella Union, so I had a rough idea what to expect. Gorgeous male vocal with very simple music, this album is all cover versions or B-sides. The last song on the album is not Song to the Alien as stated, but in fact that gorgeous gem 'Song to the Siren' which was previously covered so well also by This Mortal Coil. Its a beautiful version and so is the one of Abba's (!!) 'Angel Eyes'. Full of emotion, this beats any of those rubbish 'tearjerker' compilations and singers like James Blunt anyday.
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on 19 December 2010
I've come to this in quite a roundabout way after buying Queen of Denmark this year, and then only recently finding out that John Grant was the Czar's lead singer. This is a very special album of carefully chosen mood songs, beautifully sung, beautifully arranged, and from "an old-fashioned homosexual" point of view, very moving. Where the Boys Are is blissful; so wonderful to hear a great male singer unafraid of or veiling his longing for the arms of another man - it still seems such a rare thing for gay artists to do. Can't recommend highly enough.
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on 30 April 2009
I bought this CD simply because I heard their version of "Song to the Siren" in a cafe and asked who it was. Loved Liz Fraser's version on "This Mortal Coil", but the Czars version was, if anything, even more haunting (never heard the original Tim Buckley version). This guy's voice is spine tingling and carries the whole album. Even better than the original Art Garfunkel rendition of "For Emily, Wherever I may find her", which is going some. The choice of some songs and the alteration of a few lyrics in others to reflect the singer's sexuality is incredibly empowering. Subsequently, have learnt that one friend is a big Czars fan and have already ordered "The Ugly People versus the Beautiful People", which I've been assured is their best album to date.
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on 4 April 2012
I only came across the album because I heard the John Grant version of Angel Eyes on the Dermot O'Leary Saturday Sessions album, and loved it, so I checked out more. And when I discovered his band had done a cover of what is in my eyes, one of the greatest songs ever written - Where The Boys Are, I just knew I had to get the CD. There is something so mournful about Grant's voice that it makes you want to cry. His cover of For Emily by Simon and Garfunkel is so downbeat, I actually had tears in my eyes. I absolutely loathe Patsy Cline, and yet he makes Strange sound fresh and new.

If you want something to lift your mood, I'd avoid this album like the plague. But if you want reflective, beautiful music that puts a new spin on traditional songs, then I'd say buy buy buy. Just make sure you have a box of tissues at hand!
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on 22 March 2013
I came to this late following John Grant 's solo work.For Emily and Song for a siren had me in tears they are so beautiful.The instrumental backing is superb throughout especially so on My Funny Valentine.John often sounds like a cross between Jeff Buckley and Scot Walker.The band like early Lambchop ! All in all an amazing record.
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on 9 March 2009
this album is amazing, their version of "Where the boys are" sent a shiver down my spine the second it started playing and "I fall to pieces" is the best version I've heard after the original by Patsy Cline!
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on 14 May 2013
Having Discovered John Grant through his Queen of Denmark album I tried the Czars as he was lead singer.He has a fabulous voice and sings these covers against a paired down backing.The choice of songs without gender change in the lyrics reflect his gay sensibilities,and though I at first found "where the boys are" amusing,his performance on all the tracks overide any such consideration.This was a bargain price but would be well worth full price. Other highlights include the Abba song "Angel Eyes,My funny Valentine though there are no duds at all.A really captivating album
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on 16 November 2013
I have just read the 'Pitchfork' review of this album (I was trying to find out who some of the original artists were)and it says "a collection best taken in small bites." I've been listening to it three to four times a day everyday for a couple of weeks now, on repeat while I work. It's addictive and every song is just wonderful. Don't hesitate in buying this!!
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