After a four year break between albums, Brit singer/songwriter David Gray has returned with his tenth studio album Mutineers; the album is said to be the most experimental of Gray’s catalogue to date. David has his 1998 record White Ladder to thank over his big break into the music industry, but he has stated that there are fifteen years now between him and that album and he’s ready to put the past behind him and move forward with his new direction.
Leading single Back In The World is a great opener, it’s almost as if it picks up where Gray left off; “Back in the world again/It’s the only way to be/I’m naked like a tree” is a line that potentially empowers Gray to embrace the now, and he demonstrates much of his vocal range with a bitter sweet tenderness. As The Crow Flies begins as a deeply raw ballad led by piano, steadily the beat kicks in and broadens the track’s horizons; title track Mutineers has a heart warming sound to it and Gray takes you on the journey on which he had embarked before/whilst writing the album. Beautiful Agony is not one of the stronger points on Mutineers, the staccato in which the verses are sung in are admirable, but at the same time it takes away the closeness and understanding experienced earlier. There’s a nice ring to Last Summer, the simplicity of its nature doesn’t cause any over thinking and you can focus on its atmosphere and lyrics.
Snow In Vegas taps into the more poetic side of David’s knack for songwriting, it just flows nicely and his vocals are flawlessly dynamic; Cake and Eat It is ever so repetitive, it’s a little dry without the icing and needs something a little more. David turns his piano power ballad on with Bird of the High Arctic, it is delivered beautifully complete with emotive vocals and a slight basic beat. The Incredible has an intriguingly different approach, the opening/recurring line (“this time”) is somewhat in the distance while Gray takes control with the remainder of the song; Girl Like You has a more of a deeper sound going for it, the instrumentation is somewhat darker than the rest of the album and there is a new maturity resonating through Gray’s vocal. Gulls begins as a harmony driven ballad, before exploding into a wall of voices and sound to see itself and the album out.
Mutineers is the key to the evolution of the David Gray we thought we knew; the album consists of a collection of emotional tracks that have enabled the singer/songwriter to let bygones be bygones and move on from his past, embracing the now and preparing for his future. Gray has had a decent break between his last album and Mutineers, which would have left enough time for thought and experimentation, both are evident when listening to the album in full. Original David Gray fans should prepare themselves for the reformed artist, Mutineers is a force to be reckoned with and puts his past to rest.