David Gray – Life in Slow Motion – RCA/Sony
Published on June 13, 2007
Since hitting it big time in 1998 with “White Ladder,” David Gray’s career has steadily grown, achieving wide success in both England and the United States. “Life in Slow Motion” is his seventh album and this is the two-sided DualDisc version of that album. One side is the CD with all the songs and the other side is a DVD with a “making of” documentary, photo gallery, complete song lyrics, and an enhanced stereo version of the CD.
The songs are a collection of contemporary love songs and ballads, minus the sappy lyrics and overproduced sound common to most such endeavors. Actually the lyrics can be interesting and even cleverly obscure at times. For example, from “Alibi” – “Prayers like ammonites / Curl beneath the lights / How I long to / Bite every hand that feeds you more.” Like I said, interesting. “Nos Da Cariad,” Welsh for “Goodnight Sweetheart,” contains this beautifully rendered bit of imagery – “The sun above the cotton grass / Is sinking down like lead . . . Hold on to St. Christopher / The sky is murderous red.” “The One I Love” is a beautifully bittersweet song about a soldier shot and bleeding to death in a forest while thinking about dancing in eternity with his true love. Death is referred to as “the repo man.” Trust me, it plays better than it sounds. It’s probably not a surprise that most of the songs are a bit melancholy, made all the more so by the smoothly worn and sometimes ragged voice of Gray, though sometimes the music occasionally explodes into momentary exuberance during the choruses.
On the DVD side, and a bit different from the music itself, the documentary is fun to watch. It’s downright lighthearted. Before recording this album, Gray bought the former recording studio of Dave Stewart of the Eurhythmics, which happens to be a former church. The documentary shows Gray recording a few of the tracks, mostly while cutting up with Rob Malone, who plays percussion and sings back-up on the album. You also see them get lunch at the neighborhood Dunn’s Bakery N8. The album’s producer, Marius de Vries (the record producer for Rufus Wainwright, David Bowie, Madonna, and U2), shows up to chat a bit, looking like a cross between David Bowie and Peter Weller. It is a reasonably short documentary, just a hair over 20 minutes long, but it serves to provide a glimpse into the daily life of David Gray, at least while he is recording an album. The other features are mainly the songs with and without lyrics, if you are interested in reading along while listening. Actually this isn’t a bad idea, since Gray’s pronunciation can sometimes make the lyrics more obscure than they need to be.
There is one caveat to this disc. Being a DualDisc recording, not all players will handle it. [Best not to even insert it in a portable, computer, car unit or CD changer…Ed.] So please keep that in mind. But if you’re already a fan of Gray, and there are plenty out there, then this will be a welcome addition to your collection. If you’re new to this artist, I can’t think of a better introduction to the man and his music.
– Hermon Joyner
The One I Love
Nos Da Cariad
From Here You Can Almost See the Sea
Ain’t No Love
Now and Always
Entire album in enhanced stereo
Complete song lyrics
“Life In Slow Motion” documentary
Photo Gallery (various portraits of David Gray)