Grant McLennan | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

comment

As half the potent but unassuming songwriting force in Australia's late great Go-Betweens, Grant McLennan created unapologetically smart and elegant pop gems. His superb new album Horsebreaker Star (Beggars Banquet), his third solo outing and his most accomplished, acquits him of any alleged reliance on partner Robert Forster. Recorded last year in Athens (Georgia, not Greece) with a cast assembled by producer John Keane (R.E.M., Indigo Girls), the album sets McLennan's beautiful, often oblique tunes within crisp, bracing folk-rock attacks that accent his distinct melodic skills without smothering them. Neither mean-spirited nor sappy, McLennan exploits love as his prime topic but laces his poetic introspection with a healthy dose of wariness. "The best thing I ever did was dropping you" runs the hopeful refrain of the soaring "Dropping You." McLennan is in the unfortunate position of having to open for the subject of a big Atlantic Records push, precocious 20-year-old singer-songwriter Jewel (no last name, thank you), but anyone who appreciates intelligent pop music shouldn't miss this chance to catch him in such a spare setting. Wednesday, 8 PM, Urbus Orbis, 1934 W. North; 252-4446.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Ray Lego.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →