Review Summary: A flawless pop/rock album that demands more commercial attention
The most tragic thing about this record is that hardly anyone knows about it. I often regard it as a masterpiece amongst 90's pop/rock. The trouble is, whilst the Gray's produced this quality disc, the public were already under the spell of Kurt Cobains teenage angst. Nevertheless, I am going to try my best, not just to review this gem but hopefully convince some of you to pick up a copy, you wont be dissapointed.
So what do we have here? 4 young men, each multi-instrumentalists with a knack for writing catchy tunes. Jason Falkner (who was a member of power pop gods, Jellyfish), Jon Brion (Who is now a successful record producer, notably working on Dido's safe trip home) Buddy Judge (now a film and television music composer) and Dan McCarroll (Just your everyday drummer.) The interesting thing though, is that every song on this album is written in turn by a different musician in the band, until you get a nice balance of at least 4 songs by each member (minus the drummer, who only co writes one track.) The tracks compliment each other really well though, with each song writer taking the lead vocal on their respected songs, and the other members harmonising and switching instruments until you are lost with who wrote what.
So what's the music like you ask? Well, I can say it's absolute quality, and I can safely say there is somthing for everyone on this album (unless you are a total dance nut). I'd even go as far as saying that these guys have finished what the Beatles started. Some songs are simple in structure, others not so. Tracks like "Very best years" and "Oh well maybe" are well written catchy pop songs with great structures and chordal progressions, whilst tracks like "Nothing between us" and "Nothing" are lush in sound whilst giving a sad feeling. "Spooky" is a foreboarding ballad, "Is it now yet" is a psychadelic trip and displays some mild complexity in time signatures, "Both belong" is a somewhat folky sounding song blended with some rock. Every track features a great deal of input from the rest of the band though, it seems their vocal skills and fun playing styles were fated to be together.
Sadly, this was the only album the Gray's released, and did terribly commercially, due to the underground nature of the artists involved. One single was released and failed to take off (very best years.) I guess the world wasn't ready for the Gray's.
I know this sounds like a really biased review, but I am totally honest and I have nothing bad to say about this record. To me, it defines 90's pop, and it's incrediable that a virtually unknown band can produce such an amazing cd, and have it fail to take off. That's why I will not only regard this album as a classic, but in a whole different league of its own. Buy it! 5.1/5
Very best years: it is easily their most accessable song, and you can enjoy it on youtube.