Life in Slow Motion

Studio Album by released in 2005
Life in Slow Motion's tracklist:
Alibi
The One I Love
Lately
Nos Da Cariad
Slow Motion
From Here You Can Almost See The Sea
Ain`t No Love
Hospital Food
Now and Always
Disappearing World

Life in Slow Motion review

Before James Blunt and all those other melancholic males with guitars came this man from Manchester who played piano and penned some of the most memorable pop songs in the English language. Unbeknownst to many in the States, David Gray has been making music since 1993. With a surname almost anti-pop in its banality, David Gray bucked the system and made himself a star. Fortunately, despite attracting a huge commercial following he has never been one to pander to middle-aged tastes, a fact confirmed on his melodic yet forward-thinking seventh studio album. Recorded with an outsider producer, Marius De Vries (Bjork), for the very first time, Life In Slow Motion moves away from the simplistic, lo-fi bedroom programming approach that highlighted Gray's previous work. The songwriting too has evolved, representing snapshots of those moments in life when time appears to slow – a marked departure from the semi-autobiographical narratives of White Ladder, and with Gray citing Sigur Ros and Sparklehorse among the influences for the record. The album's title seems to refer as much to the fact that the album took three years to appear as the way the songs unfold glacially. Life In Slow Motion is, in its subtle way, a huge step: the blue eyed folk-soul singer's first truly stadium-ready album.

Only occasionally resorting to electronica, Gray keeps it simple this time out and primarily acoustic. Nos Da Cariad (Welsh for Goodnight Sweetheart) is almost Coldplay-esge instrumentally, courtesy of a stark guitar riff to set things up. It's an inspirational piece, vocally layered (a falsetto style undercuts Gray's main vocals), that is designed to be emotive and succeeds. It is followed by the pensive Slow Motion, a contemplative piece that is marked by Gray's powerhouse vocals and the trademark melancholy style. Two tracks, From Here You Can Almost See The Sea and Ain't No Love are taken from the soundtrack for Amma Assante's debut film, A Way of Life (2004), which merely lend to the cinematic sweep of the album as a whole. While there are even uplifting melodies to offset some of the more atmospheric stuff, such as the upbeat Hospital Food and the aforementioned Nos Da Cariad, the ambitious scope of the album is best exemplified in the album's penultimate track, Now And Always, a six-minute plus slow-builder that unfolds with more impressive vocal layering and plenty of instrumental arrangements.

What the successful Weles-based brooder has that James Blunt, Daniel Powter and the rest don't is a rueful maturity, making Life In Slow Motion as arresting as these things get. Life In Slow Motion stands on its own as a very solid effort. It is a deeply atmospheric record that embraces an almost cinematic scope while retaining the heartfelt intensity and staggering clarity of Gray's distinct vocal style. What's more, it's a furthering of the singer's life in music. Opening track, Alibi, for instance, is described as being like Babylon: Part 2 - only far more abstract. For fans of Gray, the album therefore represents an unmissable next chapter in the ongoing success story. It's as passionate and brooding as you might expect, but a little more epic and certainly more ambitious. Undoubtedly another platinum seller - and deservedly so too.

(28.09.2005)
Rate review4.31
Total votes - 19


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