We can’t have been unusual in seeing Gray at Glastonbury (on the telly) promoting White Ladder and buying the album; we seem to remember that while he was doing ok before, the Glasto show pushed the album out to the masses.
Like other bands before and since (Dido, James Blunt) Gray was then everywhere — his electronics-meets-folk sound and intense yet vulnerable voice being good for all moods, whether happily chilling or hungover — and the natural revolt followed.
One minute Dido is cool and being sampled by Eminem, the next she’s the dullest singer ever.
All this is by way of saying that we bought White Ladder, played it to death and were then Grayed out; we listened to this new album with the ears of people who only really know one album, 20 years old.
In some ways Gray — from Sale, grew up in Altrincham — sounds like you’d think he would, but also different enough to be interesting. He’s not trying to replicate the old sound, and doesn’t; his voice has matured, more rounded and smoother.
He’s big in Ireland — we once read that one in four Irish households owned White Ladder, which may still be the biggest selling album in Eire — and aside from himself, he sounds a bit Van Morrison; there’s a touch of soul in most of the songs. Breaks no new ground, very pleasant, sounds like David Gray: probably sell millions.
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