David Gray – Mutineers
Most artists come to a point where they grow bored with themselves and seek a return to basics, a fresh slate on which to rediscover their musical and personal identity. Mutineers by David Gray is just that, but with a difference from most of these attempts at reclamation: it actually works.
Four years on from his last album release, this hiatus in new material from Gray matches the longest absence we’ve seen of him since he first became recognised as an artist 20 years ago. The singer-songwriter has joined forces with Andy Barlow from 90s duo Lamb to record this album, and the collaboration balances and successfully frames those familiar stretching vocals that often either stole the spotlight or short-circuited the wires. Barlow doesn’t leave too many fingerprints on Mutineers, and the most noticeably influenced track here is A Girl Like You, an echo-ridden yet tightly clipped piece with Gray singing a hypnotising anthem for a chorus.
Gray has been accused of sounding flat and lifeless in other recent releases, but Mutineers is decidedly multi-dimensional – the single Back to the World is one of a handful of up-tempo numbers and, despite some dissent from fans that it was “overproduced”, it is full of life and ripples with hope and rebirth.
Gray has always been a talented lyricist and, possibly with the exception of Cake and Eat It, there are no changes here. His intent to avoid writing anything “whiney”, as many artists do in the middle of a mid-life crisis, has cumulated in a series of beautifully written songs in an album that has the feel of a debut from a promising singer-songwriter whilst maintaining the polished confidence of a musical veteran. “There ain’t nothing left to prove,” he sings in Birds of the High Arctic. It’s possibly this attitude and dedication to making music that proves beyond doubt Gray’s durability and worth as an artist.
Mutineers was released on 20th June 2014, to order the album visit here.
Watch the video for Back in the World here: