Grant Creon - In Denial


1. Wish You Were Here
2. Each Night
3. In Denial
4. Baby You’re All But Strange
5. Love in Decline
6. Demonface
7. Maintenance of Fun
8. Odd Things
9. To Be Free
10. Home

In order to learn about the concept of catharsis, it’s not that bad to look back at the very originals. Sophokles’ Antigone for example – the classic play about betrayal, loyalty, love, power, death and guilt contains literally every theme that had an universal, timeless impact on creative work up to these days. In the old greek’s world though, Tragedy meant a lot more than simply constructing stories around grief. To put it simply, in Aristotle’s poetics, Catharsis was meant as a cleansing moment in watching others suffer on stage – now, what could be more characteristic for pop-music than this? Despite the question if it works, Mattias Larsson, head of Swedish roots-rock band GRANT CREON, obviously had something like a cleansing in mind by composing the songs of his band’s second album In Denial.

“I was afraid to give my emotions a shape, because I was not sure wether it would help or devastate me completely.”, Larsson stated in advance of this release and indeed, he once again stepped a little further into darkness. Compared to last year’s impressive debut Damn Those Things, GRANT CREON slowed down even more, reduced what was already quite sparse and by that, drove their alt-country into regions that are now, above all, quite difficult. Not only for those who were writing it. In Denial is a series of anemic compositions, with sadness and despair drawing a red line from NEIL YOUNG‘s delusional americana up to JASON MOLINA‘s blooming depressions.

Sadly, as GRANT CREON increasingly circle around themselves, they also limit their artistic vision. Where Damn Those Things knew exactly how to adress melancholy in its various beauty, there is a leady lack of drive on In Denial. You literally know there’s been heavy things going on in Larsson’s life, maybe too heavy to deal with them in a productive artistic way. Not to be misunderstood: this is still great music to get lost in, with at times achingly beautiful songs and as long as it helped to sing and record them, there’s not a single ounce of reproach in these words, but GRANT CREON already sounded richer and more imaginative than this. Catharsis is not a self-purpose, it is meant to move the audience. With this record though, the listener is more moved by the graspable burden of the man who produced it, than by the music itself. Hopefully, the demons are cast out, now that that these songs have been released.