Personnel: David Gray (vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards); Clune (vocals, keyboards, bass, drums); Colm Mac Con Iomaire (violin); Tim Bradshaw (keyboards); Simon Edwards (bass); Lestyn, Steve Sydelnyk, Marius De Vries (programming).
This is an Enhanced CD, which contains both regular audio tracks and multimedia computer files.
David Gray began his career utilizing bare-bones folk-rock arrangements that left plenty of room for his Dylan/Van Morrison-inspired vocals and lyrics to weave their spell. Subsequently, he submerged his unique qualities somewhat in thick production. WHITE LADDER finds a workable balance between these two extremes. Some of the tracks are little more than Gray plus rhythm section, recalling the simplistic grace of his debut A CENTURY ENDS; on other cuts, synthesizers and electronic rhythms are incorporated in a tasteful, organic way that lends modernity to the proceedings without imposing upon the spirit of the songs.
As always, the most important thing is Gray's lyrical and vocal skill, which remain pleasingly intact. He leavens his simple, heartfelt observations with just the right amount of poetic imagery, much in the same manner that the electronic touches are added to spice up WHITE LADDER's neo-folk arrangements.
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (10/12/00, p.89) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...Sleek modern folk....Gray proves that great songs sometimes require quiet acts of irreverence."
Entertainment Weekly (1/19/01, p.85) - "...A restorative for those hungry for intimacy....an heir to Van Morrison..." - Rating: B
Q (1/01, p.92) - Included in Q's "50 Best Albums of 2000".
Q (8/00, p.118) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...A triumph of songcraft, with a huge emotive tug following from the spare acoustic textures. Gray's crusty, Dylan-esque voice shines throughout..."
CMJ (5/00, p.24) - "...A stately, sophisticated album...Gray combines gentle guitar hooks and effusive string washes with warm, fluent beats on memorable songs....[A] magnificent accomplishment..."
Mojo (Publisher) (7/00, p.124) - "...Mega-platinum in Ireland....Dominated by understated acoustic strumming and his warbling tenor, opener 'Please Forgive Me' is a dead ringer for mid-'70s Dylan..."
NME (Magazine) (7/15/00, p.34) - 6 out of 10 - "...Given the decent songwriting showcased here, you suspect it couldn't have happened to a nicer bloke..."
- Please Forgive Me
- My Oh My
- We're Not Right
- Silver Lining
- White Ladder
- This Years Love
- Sail Away
- Say Hello Wave Goodbye
- Babylon II
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- 1 used from $2.00
Comments: Mine is the original 1998 Australian issue. Exactly the same tracks. The disc has light scuffs but is guaranteed to play perfectly.
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