David Gray

Mutineers

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    8
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Bouncing back from the hushed austerity of 2010's Foundling -- a tasteful affair, to be sure, but perhaps a shade too tasteful -- David Gray joins forces with Andy Barlow, a producer/songwriter/remixer who has worked with Elbow and Damien Rice but is best known as one of the founding members of Lamb, the British electronica band of the '90s. This hardly signals an excursion into electronic music for the folkie, but Barlow does paint Mutineers with many appealingly muted colors, an approach that seems surprisingly bright after the off-white Foundling. At its best, the production is so quietly textured it never draws attention to itself; instead, it enhances the songs themselves, letting them breathe and settle. It's not simply that the production of Mutineers is well-drawn, so are the melodies of the songs. Grey remains a subtle songwriter, but these songs are direct and often slyly hooky, which means Mutineers makes a striking initial impact then seeps in deeply.

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