On the surface, this collaboration with Andy Barlow (of underrated Nineties trip-hop duo Lamb) isn't a huge leap for David Gray, a folk-rock vet obsessed with electronics at least since 2000's sleeper hit White Ladder. But Barlow, a DJ-minded producer obsessed with acoustic instruments, is a perfect match. Where Gray generally plants his Van Morrison-ish bray like a flag in a song's center, Barlow blurs the field with swarming arrangements and vocals smeared by effects and multitracking. "A Girl Like You" – with its warped grooves and clipped echo – is the most transporting example. It's curious: The more the singer is subsumed, the more engaging he sounds.
From The Archives Issue 1212: July 3, 2014