Picks and Pans Review: David Gray

updated 09/26/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/26/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Life in Slow Motion

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It's a shame that this Welsh singer-songwriter's ambition doesn't match his remarkably distinct voice. For his second album in a row—both released after his 2000 breakthrough White Ladder—Gray tries to coast on his vocal talents and standard woe-is-me lyrical fare. Songs like the plodding downer "Slow Motion" lack the urgency to really pull the listener in. There are two exceptions: the Van Morrison-like "Lately" and the haunting ballad "Ain't No Love," which recalls Ladder's standout "This Year's Love."

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