Draw The Line CD
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With 12 million album sales to date, including the smash hit White Ladder and number one album Life In Slow Motion, David Gray returns with his highly anticipated new album Draw The Line. Draw the Line features the single "Fugitive", and collaboration with Annie Lennox on the album’s epic finale "Full Steam Ahead". The album was written and produced by David in his North London studio, The Church.
David Gray’s gradual slide from radio ubiquity has been a blessing of sorts for the Manchester-born songwriter. While he’ll forever be remembered for his breakthrough single Babylon, which dominated the airwaves of 2000, a distancing from commercial tastes – he’s had no top ten single since 2005, and the lead single here, Fugitive, is yet to crack the top 100 – has allowed Gray to express himself in the right, self-rewarding ways.
Draw the Line, Gray’s eighth studio album, finds the singer striking out with a brand-new band set up after parting company with regular songwriting partner Craig McClune, and while he rightfully leads from the front, the album’s liner notes reveal that the newcomers have played more than just supporting roles, with numerous co-write credits. The results are pleasingly authentic of feel, in so much as the listener gets the impression that this is a ‘band’ album, rather than one from a solo artist merely backed by session hands.
Gray’s voice has drifted closer than ever before to the world-weary croak of the Stereophonics’ Kelly Jones at his downbeat best, which graces a handful of these songs with a hard-luck vibe that really connects with the listener, especially at a time of year when blue skies are beginning to turn grey for another six months. Transformation is one such cut, a gorgeous final minute of wordless harmonising the cherry atop a sumptuous surprise of understated elegance. Similarly delightful is Kathleen, Gray’s duet – although he dominates proceedings – with Texan folk singer Jolie Holland. It’s easily the standout track of this album’s mid-section.
Bringing Annie Lennox into the mix on the closing Full Steam rather lessens the album’s initial impact, diluting as it does an otherwise consistently strong showing from Gray – alongside the Eurhythmics legend he pales, the punch his female foil packs considerably more impressive than the comparative fragility of his own tones. In the track’s favour, its string arrangement never overpowers the basic strums-and-drums structure, complementing rather than conquering. Fugitive, perversely, is among the weaker numbers here, vocally buoyant but lacking any instrumental spark.
But the single is one of few slight disappointments on an album which, while breaking no boundaries nor exhibiting much adventuring beyond Gray’s comfort zone, stands up well to repeat plays and, ultimately, impresses enough to recommend to both existing fans and those yet to investigate the man’s material beyond his over-played hit of yesteryear. --Mike Diver
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
Everytime I hear Nemesis the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention. This song really touches my inner core because of its beauty, phrasing and meaning. Jackdaw rises to a crescendo as it soars towards its end and is just magical. Even the final song, Full Steam, leaves you wanting to hear more from Gray because of the way it elegantly captivates you.
David Gray is a masterful songwriter and the songs are all beautifully crafted.
I have listened to this continously since I bought it and it is like fine wine, it just gets better and better.
Disc two showcases his live performance and wannabes karoke singers on those awful so-called talent shows should listen to this because they will hear true, unadulterated talent that is so far removed from the over-produced pap that pollutes the airwaves.
David Gray is simply brilliant
Not only is this full to the brim with excellent songs, but it's so beautifully recorded as well. The choice of instrumentation complements each track beautifully. The guitars ring out, the strings sound clear and bright, without being too lush, the piano notes are sumptuously rich and Gray's voice is in fine form. "Draw The Line" is the sound of an artist at the peak of his powers. Highlights - well, every song, really. That may sound like a cop-out, but it's true. If you push me to name favourites then I'd have to go for the upbeat opener "Fugitive", the beautiful but slightly sinister "Nemesis", the superbly rousing "Jackdaw", the gorgeous "Kathleen", the magical and somehow traditionally Scottish-sounding "Transformation" and the folky but explosive "Breathe". Yes, I'm fully aware that I've just named three-quarters of the album, but that's just the way it is.Read more ›
Anyway, Ive been listening today and, like other DG albums I know this is going to grow, Sure first listen there is a 50% hit rate. I'm on second listen now and we are up to 85-90%.
Jackdaw is my favourite so far - I cant recall a song where the singer can say the title and actually bring to mind the word he is saying - the ultimate metaphor.
Sure this isnt white ladder but it isnt the year 2000. this album shows the intelligence behind the songs and the depth of music that suit today.
I once read a review of the music book of david gray songs and the reviewer was stunned to see the depth and clever arrangements of every song.
I will continue to listen and to buy, and ignore one star reviews who are either jealous musicians or just helpless.
DG - keep it up, we'll keep full steam ahead listening.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Anything by David Gray is just fine with me! I like this as much as all his other albums!Published 9 months ago by John Oldham
Worth a listen or two but other David Gray albums have made me play them more often.Published 16 months ago by RICHARD