JOHN Grant is one of music’s known unknowns, so when he says the electronica-heavy Love Is Magic showcases the sound he’s always wanted to make, it’s possible that this explosive, acerbic and entertaining singer-songwriter is just messing with us.

As he may well be with the album title; this is an artist who doesn’t sign happiness off easily. And while Grant’s cynical, intricate worldview is voiced with pincer-sharp mischievousness on the almost-disco Preppy Boy and He’s Got His Mother’s Hips, and he’s just as happy to reference broccoli and collective nouns as he is ISIS and Trump (on the sneeringly great Smug ****), the shadow of regret, distaste and even malevolence always hangs over his songs.

Opener Metamorphosis is a pile-up of disassociated topics until it breaks into an affecting chorus lamenting the loss of a loved one; Tempest, Is He Strange and Touch And Go are textured and sometimes operatic, while the title track is synth-driven alt-pop that sounds clean and invigorating until you realise it’s about mental illness.

Not Grant’s most startling or powerful work, but he remains a rarity: n artist who, song by song, makes it difficult not to want to hear what he’s going to do next.