David Gray returns with his eleventh album, Foundling. Known for his heady lyrics inspired by the likes of Van Morrison and Cat Stevens, Gray fuses his past sounds into a new, yet familiar, feel which highlights his maturity as an artist. Gray’s earlier albums like Flesh and A Century Ends are reflective of a “boy with his guitar” singer-songwriter type fare. Then with his most critically accepted album, White Ladder, released in 2000, Gray begins to show a more experimental side to his craft. He plays with synthesized backbeats and musical special effects which ultimately produce studio-rich albums like New Day at Midnight and Life in Slow Motion. His muse appeared to come from two different spheres.
Foundling is the culmination of a David Gray with a guitar and a David Gray with a beat machine reaching his artistic maturity. Long time fans of Gray’s will recognize the lyricism and sounds of his earlier works in Foundling’s “Gossamer Thread” and “We Could Fall In Love Again.” But for those that came to Gray’s work from the “Babylon” studio-beat genre, they won’t be disappointed either. Foundling has some seriously dressed up electronic tracks like the title track “Foundling” and “Holding On.”
The release of Foundling should get Gray more radio time in the US. Until now, Gray’s better tracks have left him relegated to soundtracks and adult contemporary radio. But Foundling should change this. To move his music to the mainstream, Gray needs a serious, multi-city tour. His sound teems well with the likes of David Matthews, who at one time called Gray his favorite musician, and Ben Harper.
The maturity of the album begs a listen and a footing above the pedantic pop we’re shoveled today. David Gray is a serious musical talent. The maturity of his art rests not only in the sounds, but also lyrics.