Life in Slow Motion
Listening to David Gray's Life in Slow Motion is like tuning your radio to a timeless mix of "adult contemporary" artists in their prime. The stately opener "Alibi" is Elton John in Tumbleweed Connection mode, "Lately" is Van Morrison
from the Moondance era, and "Nos Da Cariad" could pass for a Coldplay outtake from X&Y.
That's pretty lofty company - and even though Gray is nothing but derivative, he manages to tweak each style enough so it doesn't sound like a tribute album. It does mean, however, that Gray has not developed a strong identity of his own and fulfilled the potential that was indicated with his 1999 breakout disc White Ladder.
The spunkier, modern elements of his earlier work are mostly absent now, with the sing-along acoustic rocker "The One I Love" serving as one of the only upbeat songs on the album. In its place is stately, classy material that's not in a hurry to get to a particular destination. Like some of Morrison's most lasting work, the songs on Life in Slow Motion contain charms that reveal themselves more upon repeated listenings. Gray's earthy, passionate delivery spars with his penchant for understatement, with a sort of subtle urgency emerging in the mix. If you're not looking for a quick musical fix, then Life in Slow Motion is worth investing some time on.