David Gray was born in Manchester England in 1970. After growing up in Whales he moved to Liverpool where he attended college. He played in a few punk bands (kind of hard to imagine, but he DOES have the voice for it) then started writing his own material. He then moved to London to pursue a musical career. He was signed by Hut records in the UK and Caroline in the US. He released his first single 'Birds Without Wings' in 92'. He released his first Album 'A Century Ends' in 93'. This album won him a group of core followers who have stayed fans to this day. It is another great album and perhaps I will review it sometime in the future. After a tour of Europe he recorded his second album 'Flesh'. I chose to review this CD because it is one of my favorite ablums of all time.
'What Are You
' is one of DGs more rockin' tunes. It starts with an acoustic guitar playing a fast, catchy progression. DGs voice starts and it is a little louder and angrier than usual, but it's good. Very gutteral. 46 or so seconds into it and the band appears, bearing drums, bass, and electric guitar. This songs lyrics are all about selling out. Lines such as 'you sacrificed the poem of your imagination for these pounds and pence' make that clear enough. This song, while being a little different than his usual, mellow love songs, still has his usual poetic lyrics. It's not one of my favorite songs of the album, but I do like it. Decent opener. 4.0/5.0
' starts off with a few simple chords strummed softly. 7 seconds later and another guitar starts with some simple but lovely notes. The vocals begin slowly, followed by some soft percussion. One verse later and everything picks up a little, you can even hear some piano in the background if you listen closely. At almost exactly the halfway point the vocals stop and what sounds like a banjo goes off on a lead for a while before the vocals come back. I'm not sure exactly what David's singing about here, but my guess is that it's about breaking up with a girl. I'm sure there is more to it, but I dont need to know exactly what it is about to enjoy it, which I do, alot. The only thing going against this song, in my opinion, is the sucky percussion. 4./5.0
' begins with DG sounding pretty relaxed. The title explains pretty much all you need to know about any meaning in this song. I have taken lsd in the woods a few times so I can really relate to this song. I didnt begin to really like this song till I read the lyrics. They really do flow together nicely. The simple bass line kind of kills it for me though, so I can only give this one 3.5/5.0
' is just DG and a piano. Both begin softly. I cant be sure, but I think this one is about faith. In god? Maybe, but he never gets too specific, so I cant be sure. It seems like he's saying we should just accept everything as it is, because 'well it might hurt a bit, but would it matter'. However you want to interperate it is up to you, but you can't deny the beauty of this soft and simple tune. 4.5/5.0
'Made Up My Mind
' starts with a meddly of instruments. The intro kinda turned me off of this song at first. Once again the weak drums really hurt what could have been a pretty good song. It could be also the kinda countryish sound of this song that turns me off too. This is the only song on the album that I might skip over if I'm not in the mood. It does have its moments, ill admit, but compared to 95% of DGs songs this one is weak. In MY opinion of course. 3.0/5.0
'Mystery Of Love
' is a nice, mellow, acoustic song. Its a simple tune, but the lyrics are excellent. Lines such as 'A tangle of tongues flesh flowers and thistles of conscience, spittle and skin', go well with the two guitars parts. Niell Maccol plays some nice slide guitar throughout the latter 2/3rds of the song. Definatly a great song. 4.5/5.0
' is the best song on this album. Its very emotional. I get chills down my spine when I listen to it. Listen to it and you will know what I mean. Nothing more needs to be said about it. 5.0/5.0
' begins, like most of his songs, with a nice acoustic melody. It takes a while to build up completely, but it is very enjoyable the entire way through it. This song is very upbeat and optimistic and is a nice change from DGs usual lovesick ballads. The lyrics fit it well, of course. I'm unsure what kind of instrument it is that starts about a third into this song. I thought at first that it was a stringed instrument, but I think now that it is a keyboard or something. Theres a few nice electric guitar parts in there too. A solid song, very complete and catchy. 4.5/.5.0
'Loves Old Song
' sounds sort of angry at first. I thought so anyway. The bass and drum parts make this song pretty upbeat. Nothing spectacular on either of those instruments though. The electric guitar plays some decent riffs, but again, nothing spectacular. This song has its catchy moments, and DGs singing is great, but something about it rubs me the wrong way. Its a little more repetative than most of his other songs. My guess is it was 'over-produced' and probably used to be a better song. 4.0/5.0
' is another example of DG doing what he does best: singing poetry. The first half is just him and his guitar and then the keyboard, drums and bass come in, but softly. All the parts fit together like a puzzle. This was one of those songs that took a while to grow on me, but now it is one of my favorites. Any sort of hidden meaning in this song is lost on me. It seems to be a hopeful song though, I definatly get that feeling from it. It is a great ending to a great album. 5.0/5.0
Overall I give this one 4.5/5.0
Lyrics- some of the best lyrics ever.
Singing- David Gray has a great voice.
Guitar- not exactly complex, but very clean and catchy.
Percussion- not terrible, but terribly simple.
So, if you like acoustic singer-songwriter stuff then you should definatly check this out. Many people would prefer White Ladder over this CD, and that is probably a good place to start, but if you want something a little less produced and a little more raw, try this. I got into David Gray when I heard a song of White Ladder that I really liked, so I bought it and although it took me a few plays to get into I eventually went out and bought another CD by him. Now I own them all and I will buy the next one he puts out. I put him right up there with Elliot Smith, Damien Rice and Bob Dylan. Actually I like him better than Dylan, I think his voice is alot better and his songwriting is equally amazing. If you look around you can probably score this CD for dirt cheap. All right, that's about all I got. Enjoy.
Please comment on this review, as it is my first.