Former Hüsker Dü drummer and songwriter Grant Hart doesn’t make it easy for himself, or us, on his fifth solo album. He’s taken Milton’s Paradise Lost by way of William Burroughs’ unpublished sci-fi story Lost Paradise and made this sprawling 20-track work condensing both epic tales into a wide-ranging set of songs. It may sound daunting but don’t be put off by the concept because The Argument is bewitching in the way it blithely shifts moods and styles and in the way Grant dwells in the worlds of both light and the dark. Strange melodies recalling Berlin-era Bowie and the dark longing of Irving Berlin are everywhere and there’s a Brecht-like carnival feel to I am Death. On the jaunty little skip of Sin, Hart sets the tone of levity when he breezes “I’m sad, sick and sexy . . . I’m not all those other pretty angels/come on join the revel/let’s go to the devil.” Letting Me Out races along on a Buddy Holly beat and Hart indulges his garage rock roots on Golden Chain while the epic War In Heaven is a phantasmagoria of machine-gun fire, whirls and clicks, sirens, and twinkling bells. High concept and highly enjoyable, the fall of man has never sounded like so much fun.


Alan Corr