49 of 56 people found the following review helpful
As Good As It Gets,
This review is from: Draw The Line (Audio CD)
Mr Gray has produced a not insignificant body
of work since his 1993 debut 'A Century Ends'.
I cannot say that I have ever been a fan of his music.
'White Ladder' won him legions of admirers and I could
not count myself among them.
He was good. He possessed a kind of everyman charm
and an approachable, uncluttered and unpretentious
compositional style which did not demand too much of
his listeners. Good....but not that good.
His last album, 2005's 'Life In Slow Motion' delivered
some of his best songs to date - I will admit to being
rather fond of 'The One I Love' and 'From Here You Can
Almost See The Sea', both perfectly decent tunes.
With 'Draw The Line', however, my attention has been caught
in quite a different way. This album is more than good.
It is very, very good indeed. A revelation in fact.
Suddenly it seems that Mr Gray has discovered a rich and
deep seam of golden creativity hidden from him until now.
The eleven songs in this collection are the product of
an untethered artist, recorded in his own studio and with
a stunning new bunch of musical compatriots breathing life
and energy into the project. Everyone gives of their best.
The album as a whole has a wonderfully coherent ambience.
Warm, dry and vividly alive. The voice is always well-forward
in the mix and he has never sung better
Now, here's a thing...stay with me here for a moment... a wayward
thought perhaps...but...I am reminded of some of Elton John's
finest music of the early seventies; the Elton John of
'Tumbleweed Connection' and 'Madman Across The Water'.
This reflection is nothing less than respectful in intent.
Mr John's songs of that period were truly great; created before the rot
of excessive showmanship set in. He was as good as it got back then.
'Draw The Line' is a masterpiece of restrained, unshowy songwriting
of the very highest calibre. This is as good as it gets right now !
From the solid piano chords and chattering snare at the opening
of 'Fugitive' to the simply beautiful closing duet with Annie Lennox,
(an inspired and inspiring pairing!) 'Full Steam', there is not one
weak or lacklustre idea in the whole bunch.
The limpid guitar eddies and gorgeously restrained brass arrangement
on 'Nemesis' frames, arguably, Mr Gray's finest moment.
A once-in-a-lifetime song for any artist.
The truth of the tale cuts like a knife.
'Kathleen' is a tender, rolling composition enhanced by
Jolie Holland's fragile but expressive harmonies.
'First Chance' is another stunner. A stripped-down, edgy number
blessed with a raw and beautifully sustained vocal performance.
'Transformation' and 'Breathe' provide further evidence that
the composer is riding the biggest creative wave of his career.
It's a wave I was happy to be carried along by from
the beginning to the end of this stupendous album.
Where once there was doubt (mine) there is now complete conviction.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 Sep 2009 18:19:09 BDT
Andy Sweeney says:
Posted on 17 Sep 2009 09:00:45 BDT
Moira Lynne Marshall says:
Have not stopped playing this album since it arrived, wow, just fantastic
Posted on 22 Sep 2009 23:33:17 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 Oct 2009 00:08:12 BDT
Mister Kite says:
I very much agree with the early Elton comparison. In fact, if you listen to one of Elton John's songs like Salvation, from Honky Chateau, it could almost stand as a blueprint for a typical David Gray song. You could easily imagine his vocals effortlessly sliding over the existing arrangement. If there is a new celebration of Elton's songs with other artists covering his works, David Gray should consider covering Salvation!
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