Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
An odd left field record
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 07/28/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Gregory Gray is an unabashed folkie. This was his third record and first for EMI. Somewhere along the line, some genius decided that he needed synth producer Stephen Hague (Pet Shop Boys, New Order) to modernize his sound. Gray was amiable to it, having spent some time away from his native Ireland in Los Angeles' gay-centric Silverlake neighborhood (hence the disc's title). The end result was "Euroflake In Silverlake," a curious melding of Gray's Randy Newman songwriting sensibilities to productions he thought would be suited to West Hollywood discos.
While not the total train wreck the above description may suggest, it did mask a few of the stronger songs. I got to see Gray perform live in 1995 in support of this record, and while such material like "Lover Brother Friend" keeps its impact as a generic pop song and the hallucinogenic "Coming Off Drugs" benefits from the dreamy atmosphere, the elegiac "Three Minute Requiem" is burdened by the layers of keyboards. (Live, it was played with just Gray and a guitar; and had a far greater emotional intensity.)
As for the Randy Newman comparison, the opening track, "The Pope Does Not Smoke Dope," is as sly as "Scenes From a Madison Avenue Office" is biting. Gray is savvy enough a lyricist and stylist to reference both Nine Inch Nails and the Grateful Dead in his words and music, which made "Euroflake In Silverlake" a great lost CD from 1995. With several of the used listings posted for just a couple bucks, you may want to investigate Gregory Gray further. Recommended as well, his second disc "Strong In Broken Places." As far as I know, "Euroflake" was his last recording to date."
Concept Album that is a Lost Gem
Get What We Give | Georgia | 04/02/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Gregory Who? you may well ask. Well, I certainly didn't know even once I'd heard his mildy popular The Pope Does Not Smoke Dope (which was probably more popular on college stations than any regular rock or pop stations). However, in what many consider a backwater town, in 1995 I heard this song in Little Rock, Arkansas on the most popular station. I didn't know whether to be offended (as a Catholic) or delighted (it's a he*luva song). What's a guy to do? I ran out and bought the album.
Euroflake in Silverlake (Gray is a "euroflake" - he's Irish and Silverlake is a popular California area), although not Gray's first album is what would have been called a "concept" album back in the 60's and 70's. It tells a story of sorts - emotional to say the least - and it has strong influences from Gray's life in and around the U.S.
Though I don't know for a fact - I've always interpreted "The Pope Does Not Smoke Dope" to be a plea for others to live their lives the way they honorably not because they have to, but rather because it's the right thing to do. It is an unbelievably catchy tune that will have you dancing to the beat. "Cut the crap, sweetheart, the Pope does not smoke dope..."
And while this song is admittedly made for radio, there are so many others that are fine, emotionally wrought and well written, if not always astutely arranged. "I'm not Paranoid" is well penned and arranged. "Coming Off Drugs" seems decidedly out of it in line with the lyrics. "Scenes from a Madison Avenue Office" is chatty, clever, and just a bit cynical. "Three Minute Requium" is haunting even if it is a bit overly wrought. "Lover Brother Friend" is a happy love/life affirming song of true love.
This is the type of album you sit around and listen to...not unlike we did once upon a time with Pink Floyd - it's just a different aesthetic...
It's a great album, if you can find it.
Check it out."