Friday, 26 August 2011

Random Review #100 David Gray - Lost Songs 95-98

C2S12CD8 picked by @thisismusic cyclist, real ale drink, and all round nice guy.

David Gray had one failed attempt at mainstream success before the mesmerising Babylon catapulted his album White Ladder into the supermarket trolleys of the masses. He had made a number of critically acclaimed but poorly selling albums which were big in Ireland but disappeared with  a whimper in the UK.

On the back the success of White Ladder people couldn’t get enough of this ‘overnight success’ and so his record label decided to release this album pending Grays return to the recording studio. As the title suggests these are ‘Lost Songs’. What that actually means is stuff Gray had recorded in his home whilst trying to get White Ladder released. The songs aren’t really lost just pending release, but Lost Songs is a far snappier title.

Simpler arrangements than White Ladder, it would be wrong to call these demo’s they are not, but it would be safe to say these songs are stripped back, although there is acknowledgement of drums and bass on this album it’s very hard to find them. Most songs seem to have Gray a guitar and at sometimes a piano. Overall you understand why these songs were ‘Lost’ a couple of throw away instrumentals add very little, but Flame Turns Blue, As I’m Leaving, and Falling Down The Mountainside could all have easily graced an official David Gray release and I could name a few singer songwriters that would give their right arm to write songs of this quality.

In hindsight I have enjoyed revisiting this album, the over feel is a bit downbeat and I’m not sure any of the tracks can stand up next to Babylon, This Year’s Love or Sail Away but in truth they are tough acts to follow.

In short an album for completists rather than casual David Gray fans.

Mark 6/10

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