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David Gray - A New Day At Midnight 2002 - WITH REVIEWS torrent
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Nine years after the release of his first album, David Gray has finally come into his own as a bona fide pop star -- kind of. Though he is still barely known in the United States, Gray is a celebrity in Britain, and unlike that of so many other British pop musicians, his fame is well-deserved.
Gray's latest release, "A New Day at Midnight," is a work of exceptional songwriting, performance and production. His compositions are infused with depths of soul and peaks of maturity not usually found in such a young pop musician. Gray gave glimpses of his composing talent on earlier releases, but on this album he shows a more developed, refined ability and assembles 12 consistently high-quality tunes. No single track stands out like "Babylon" did on 1999's "White Ladder," but each song is vibrant and powerful.
The production values have taken a big step up from "White Ladder," and -- like folk-rocker Billy Bragg's past two high-production CDs -- the sound on "New Day" is polished but not at all too slick. Gray uses the same instrumentation as on his last album, mixing folky acoustic melodies with synthesized techno rhythms. It is a potentially ruinous combination when leaning too heavily in one direction or the other, but Gray pulls it off brilliantly.
Loss and resilience figure heavily in A New Day at Midnight, David Gray's follow-up to his massively popular breakthrough, White Ladder, in 1999. Gray cloaks his painful subject in the kind of impressive songcraft that has marked his work since 1993's A Century Ends. Still, both Ladder and Midnight add a layer of flash to his dependable formula, as dashes of studio trickery and understated electronics (helped along by songwriting partner Clune) give Gray's wistful lyrics and bittersweet, emotive voice a tough-to-resist freshness. Midnight exploits Gray's singing for maximal effect, as songs like the opener, "Dead in the Water," mask sad words with bright reminders of catharsis and faith. At times, Gray could use a little more faith in simplicity. Some songs--"Freedom," for one--could stand just fine with only Gray's voice and a guitar. More often than not, though, Gray's natural, amiable phrasing and ability to create a mood show off his continued growth while staying firmly in the groove that's made him a star.
Back before White Ladder established him as a darling of the Chardonnay-and-chinos set, David Gray made bitter little bleary-eyed soul records that described emotional despair in tones anyone who ever loved Van Morrison could appreciate. The singer-songwriter returns to that approach with the slow, stately elegies of A New Day at Midnight. The haunting drone "Dead in the Water," the caustic "Be Mine" and a mystical poem in part about his father's death titled "The Other Side" put Gray's understated ache of a voice in stark, disarmingly minimal settings. The singing has to carry much of the load, and where most of his peers chase every emotional ripple, Gray just ambles dejectedly along, like he's worn out from caring so much. His beautiful detachment makes these nondescript hooks -- so plain they'd be forgettable if sung by anyone else -- into something special.
Artist: David Gray
Album: A New Day At Midnight
Date Of Release: 2002
Genre: Alternapop, Adult Alternative
Bitrate: VBR --alt-preset extreme