Album Review: Gray Charles – headbumpkiss

Gray Charles
Release Date: 23rd December 2014

Bishop Stortford based artist Gray Charles has recently released this, his first album as solo artist, it is a collection of his most intimate songs and a stunning listen. Previously playing in band Ferocious Lights, it was in 2013 when the guys parted ways, from then on he has carved his own path as a solo artist writing and recording his own music.

Though the album is fully acoustic, it is given that interesting edge with heartfelt lyrics that tell very personal stories of Charles’ life, from difficult times to love it covers everything and makes for a truly relatable and gorgeous debut LP.

We start with ‘Seventeen’ where oscillating guitar plucks echo around accompanied by a spoken word backing track. The guitar picks up adding great rhythm and melody to this for when the vocals come in; those vocals are harmonious, full of emotion and with that great storytelling lilt that all the best vocalist have.

Faster acoustic strums and a deep bass sound open ‘New Year’s Day’, a track which is energetic and upbeat with a Beatles-esque sound to it through the soaring vocals and hurried chords that will see you swaying along with a smile firmly on your face. While ‘I Can’t Breathe’ is slow and lilting with heartbreaking vocals and a chorus that will tug on your heart strings, clearly challenging to sing but beautiful nonetheless.

Deep, haunting bass sounds and hastily strummed guitar open ‘Ten Times Better’ before a voice filled with pain and emotion comes in speaking of an impacting life experience. Though the lyrics may sound sad at first, the chorus is quite uplifting with lyrics like; “when I come back I’ll be ten times better”, an inspiring thought to hold onto for anyone going through a challenging time.

Deep vocals and steady guitars of the verses are juxtaposed with a faster tempo and more melodic vocals in the choruses, ‘Looking Out For You’ is a track that perfectly portrays the light and shade of music and life. While the electric guitar on ‘Electric Goods’ and the authoritative vocal delivery produces a punk feel, turning the previous tracks on their head with some straight up rock and roll with the gritty vocal tone to match.

The raw and emotive ‘Open Myself Up’ sees ebbing and flowing guitar melody set against harsh strums complimenting that gritty vocal tone commanding your attention throughout. Though, ‘Life’s Not Gonna Wait’ is fast paced, catchy and with some wonderful melodies running throughout, it really is a great song likely to end up stuck in your head.

It is a calm haunting guitar line that opens ‘Ghost’ delivering it a chilled out, sombre vibe; vocals are hushed and again delivered with bags of emotion doing the personal lyrics justice. This one is a stunning track from quiet verses through to choruses which see vocals soaring and quickening in pace while that raw edge remains.

‘Take It All’ sees a complete difference from the last track with it’s punk fuelled riffs, electric guitar taking centre stage, authority driven vocals and a slight metal undertone from the chugging guitar lines and pounding drum beats, though a catchiness remains through it all. Gone are the electric guitars for ‘U-Turn’ though for this up-tempo, folk track carrying on that danceable atmosphere and building on it through less harsh sounds and intricate melodies.

Final track ‘Change & Unity’ is all deep vocals and quickly strummed acoustic to start, near silence takes us from first verse to second and second verse to chorus calming everything down. This is a great way to end with rhythm and melody in abundance whilst keeping the emotion found so prominently throughout this LP.

Check out the track ‘Ghost’ taken from the album below:

headbumpkiss by Gray Charles

To find out more about Gray Charles visit his Bandcamp page where you can download the album for free, his Facebook page or you can follow him on Twitter – @headbumpkiss


Album Cover


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