- 27 Nov 19
21 years ago today, David Gray released his fourth studio album, White Ladder – which went on to become the biggest selling record of all time in Ireland. To celebrate, we're revisiting our original review of the classic album.
When David Gray burst onto the scene five years ago with A Century Ends you would have got long odds on anyone ever being credited with ‘programming’ on a record which bore his name. Back then, Gray seemed to be pursuing a lonely path, intent on liberating acoustic songwriting from the clutches of moaning, self-indulgent bores.
For this, his fourth album, the change of direction long apparent in his live performances is finally made manifest on record. The opening track, ‘Please Forgive Me’, underpinned by sequenced rhythms, is an obvious example. Even a cursory listen, however, will reassure fans that there is no chance of Gray’s unique lyrical talent being lost as he embraces a more contemporary sound. Despite the ominous title, it is a love song on which he intones, “Feels like lightnin’ running through my veins / Everytime I look at you.”
The mood is generally introspective and there is the occasional misfire. The title track, for example, meanders around too much for its own good, while ‘We’re Not Right’ is less than essential.