The further in the rearview David Gray’s chart topping days get, the richer his music becomes. Gray has never really gone away, even if hearing “Babylon” in a supermarket might make you wonder “where are they now?” Instead, for the past 20 years he has poured his heart out with little fanfare and a generous dose of spirit. Here, Gray continues to move at his own pace, exploring new sonic realms and refining existing ones.
Gold in a Brass Age is his 11th album and exists almost out of time—it’s a fascinating, shimmering mix of electronica, folk, and gospel that invites contemplation and elicits smiles and thoughts of gratitude. It features slow burning melodies almost worthy of Neil Finn, and versatile vocals that go from thoughtful and conversational to Gray’s trademark, stirring yelps. There are shades of Nick Drake’s pensive, emotional acoustic folk and Bon Iver’s “folk singer in a smart cabin in the woods.” Some songs, like the meditative “Watching the Waves,” revel in the spacious, unhurried atmosphere they create. The use of negative space, slow builds and releases, and powerful punctuation make these songs sound like spiritual descendants of latter day Talk Talk.
Gold in a Brass Age sounds like a long walk down a woodland trail, path only partially blazed. These songs are relevant to each of our own spiritual journeys and a filling station for the heart—a welcome expression of self-examination in a world that often moves too fast to process. | Mike Rengel