David Gray

Life in Slow Motion

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Life in Slow Motion is an appropriate name for David Gray's sixth album, since this languid, deliberate album crawls out of the speakers at a speed that suggests everything is stuck in molasses. Not that this is a bad place for Gray to be, or that it is even a big change of pace for him. As the years passed, he's trimmed away the faster tempos from his music, leaving behind an even-keeled, meditative, soft reflective folk-pop that brought him a hit in 2000 with "Babylon" from his fourth album, White Ladder. Life in Slow Motion isn't too far removed from that album, although it does lack the then-fashionable vague electronica underpinnings of that album. In its place is a mildly lush but not elaborate production that's tasteful and classy, even if it never quite grabs the listener's attention. That's true of Gray's songwriting here in general -- it's well mannered and well intentioned, but falls short of being distinctive. If Gray didn't have a slight rasp to his voice, this music would simply wash over you, since it's a calm, clean album ideal for either background music at work or late-night introspection. Thankfully, he does have a bit of grit in his voice -- enough to ground the music, if not enough to make it compelling. To a certain extent, that's been true of all of his albums, but Life in Slow Motion is especially low-key and quiet, requiring close listening to catch the subtleties in either the lyrics or the music. That means it's a rewarding listen for the faithful who have the time, patience, and inclination to dig into this, but for those whose dedication isn't so strong, this is sweet, gentle, and ultimately forgettable.

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