David Gray: Draw the Line
A lighter shade of Gray
British singer/songwriter David Gray last released a proper studio album in 2005. It was called Life in Slow Motion, and it was lovely. It was also a complete waste of that title, which could be far more accurately applied to his syrupy new LP Draw the Line. Opening track “Fugitive” and the string-swept “Jackdaw” are plucky enough, but the nine other tracks mostly sink into a mire of hookless, humorless mid-tempo muck. The songs themselves aren’t all that bad (though Gray’s apparent unfamiliarity with the concept of slant rhyme is occasionally maddening—get the man some Emily Dickinson, stat!), they just sound like they were produced in the midst of a massive blood-sugar crash. This includes “Kathleen,” the could-be-stellar duet with Jolie Holland, in which Gray’s broguish tenor completely overpowers her delicate warble. And big closer “Full Steam Ahead,” a walloping duet with Annie Lennox, arrives a little too late to stoke the engines.