None Of The Above - William Gray Album Review
If you like your sweet treats without variation or surprise this may not be for you. If however you are occasionally inclined to take the consequences of dipping your hand in a packet of Revels, rather than persevere with say, a slab of Diary Milk, then this maybe of interest. William Grays debut solo album is full of nice little oddities. The voice and writing may bind the package but the contents are as intriguing as they are variant. 'None Of The Above' is both a tuneful and eclectic mix.
The opener 'Stop The Rot', sets the ball rolling pleasingly enough with an 'Athlete' feel, casual as you like, gentle folky/pop self assessment. (Almost in a 'note to self' style of get a grip and pull your socks up!) Then we have the 'Coral' esq., semi-psychedelia of 'Freaky Dreams' in which he recounts for us some of his more bizarre nocturnal, possibly cheese induced, episodes....'You see last night I dreamt I was a carrot, you wrenched me from the soil and fed me to a parrot.' Gray even ends with the calypso seasoned 'Lull-A-Bye'. In-between we are treated, via forays tinged with Elbow, Badly Drawn Boy and Aztec Camera, to fresh and vibrant, either instantly likeable, or 'it'll definitely grow on you', material. The two best numbers on the album are, the brilliantly titled 'Like Orange Juice On A Newly Pierced Tongue' and 'Music To Her Ears'. The quality of the song writing on both is fabulous. The imagery that is conjured up, by the narrative of the lyrics, beautifully conveys the sentiment and story within each song.
She's come to long for one innocent moment,
But innocent moments are so hard to find,
In a city where some lost souls don't suffer in silence,
And their suffering spills out in the most vicious crimes,
Let her hear something that's music to her ears.
William Gray's previous band of five years, The Smokestacks, announced their demise, as 'game over', on August 19th 2008. Following the 'winding up' of the band later that year William has turned his attention to his solo activities, and thus came 'None Of The Above'. Smokestacks were listed as Rock/Alternative/Blues, and if you've come along expecting more of the same, don't bother, because of those all that remains is possibly the alternative part. As debuts go this self released album is pretty good, it has a pleasant, sometimes, quirky edge, some great songs and a warm heart. You could do a lot worse than take it for a spin.