Clive Gregson

Comfort and Joy

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    8
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With Clive Gregson, you know exactly what to expect -- some beautifully polished songs, a touch of humor, plenty of romance, strands of nostalgia, and a warm presentation, with that voice fitting around you like a favorite jacket. And he doesn't disappoint. Though not as stripped down as his last disc, it's still all Gregson as he plays everything himself; singing, writing, and even producing, he's become quite the cottage industry. "Antidote" is the kind of acoustic pop that's been his forte since the days of Any Trouble, while "Fingerless Gloves" is somehow satisfying, even though its lyrics are perhaps a little too obvious. Surprisingly, he opens with one of the record's weakest songs, "Frances O'Connor," but he more than makes up for it later on. There's a sly reference to the classic folk song "Matty Groves" in the first verse of the title cut, and "White Suit of Notes" is an homage (albeit a trifle overdone) to early country singers. Nothing's overplayed and everything has the type of gentle taste that's so typically Gregson, even down to the lyrical style of "Riding on a Bus," whose nostalgia turns to heartbreak. It might not be the best album he's ever made but, like all his other work, it leaves you warm, as if you'd spent some time visiting an old friend.

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