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Draw The Line
At last, a brighter shade of Gray.
Jackie Hayden, 31 Aug 2009
Gray’s eighth studio album sees the rejuvenated Mancunian returning with a new label and a more determined mood. Perhaps he was inspired by the poor showing of his Greatest Hits collection. And while there is little here to rival ‘Babylon’ and ‘Please Forgive Me’ (with the possible exception of ‘Jackdaw’), there’s a warmth to Gray’s voice throughout that makes amends. His recent single ‘Fugitive’ evokes George Harrison in both the guitar sound and the arrangement. He’s at his most attractively vulnerable on the slo-mo ‘Transformation’, while ‘Nemesis’ and ‘First Chance’ give him opportunities to flex his limbs musically. For guest vocalists, Gray opts for two women. ‘Full Steam Ahead’, a celebratory duet with Annie Lennox, serves as the final show-stopper, whilst ‘Kathleen’ is a stirring collaboration with American singer-songwriter Jolie Holland. Alas, there are moments when the limited range of Gray’s own singing is highlighted. Overall, though, this is a return to form.
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