Many singer-songwriters would, on their career being stratospherically boosted with one album, carry on milking it for all they were worth for as long as they could. David Gray, however, has spent the past decade and more valiantly attempting (and, generally, succeeding) to drag himself and audience expectations into different areas. Five years after he released his 10th album, Mutineers (which displayed a revival of motivation in his songwriting, and relinked with his early fractious output), comes another subtle but significant change in direction.
There is reconnection here, too – production is by Ben De Vries, whose father, Marius, produced Gray’s 2005 album Life in Slow Motion. Beyond that, it’s down the rabbit hole we go in order to hear Gray no longer referencing personal matters but, rather, abstract, elemental topics such as nature and how it affects those who choose to face its moods, and structuring songs from the rhythm of words, not shoehorning them into already-written melodies. Musical texture, also, is to the fore, with gospel, folk and electronica shoving rock music aside. A job well done, frankly.