‘The Crocodile’ by Mathew Gray - somewhat quirky and discerningly different(July 16, 2013)
According to the publicity blurb the crocodile is the earth’s largest living reptile, largely unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs, supremely adapted to its environment and pretty much at one with its world. The EP ‘The Crocodile’ by Mathew Gray is by contrast, modernistic, somewhat quirky and discerningly different – clearly and comfortably meandering along its own path of musical evolution.
When the eponymous opening track kicked in complete with its obvious ‘puffing’ sousaphone it evoked a ‘comedy song’ feel. Thankfully it rapidly moved beyond that initial reaction and into an attractive song complete with acid-sharp lyrics – “The crocodile, he’s seen us come and he’ll see us disappear” - that use the crocodile to illustrate the absurdity of human domination of this planet. It’s an intriguing stance to take when debunking our self-importance and misguided belief that we actually ‘own’ the planet. This song definitely grows on you, as does this EP.
A less idiosyncratic side to Mathew’s songwriting and guitar work appears within ‘Took Away Tomorrow’ – equally biting lyrics presenting an acerbic reflection of breaking up and dealing with the changes. There’s also a fair amount of accusatory anger in ‘Someone To Blame’ – more than an ‘angry youth’ song it puts in plain words the rash energy of youth driven by despair. The strength of these songs suggest an album is the next stop.
The EP comes in a gatefold card cover that, complete with ‘author’s bio’ on the back, suggests more than a passing nod to Penguin Books. ‘The Crocodile’ by Mathew Gray is available on Wise Owl Records (visualise an owl on the CD cover in place of the penguin) and releases on 29th July 2013. Along with Mathew on selected album tracks are Paul Strachan (sousaphone) Dan Bridgwood-Hill (violin, organ) Danny Jones (cello) Stephen Cordiner (viola) Phil Robinson (guitarron) and Virginia Harvey (backing vocals).
Reviewer: Tim Carroll