Optimism is the overriding theme of David Gray's 10th album, and when he's not insisting, rather manically, that he's "back in the world", he's urging you to "kick off your shoes".
Though you can often detect a furrowed brow or fraught phrase, this is the sound of a man gently recuperating from a decade of being defined by his multimillion-selling 1998 album, White Ladder, and that infamous wobbly head.
His voice – still carrying that distinctive, baa-like tremor – is now backed by purring cellos and murmuring double bass; Beautiful Agony's recollection of a sun-scorched evening isn't far from Ryan Adams.
While Mutineers doesn't totally shatter preconceptions, there's a rare comfort in hearing an artist in pursuit of joy; and unlike the throng of relatively inoffensive twentysomething singer-songwriters littering the charts, Gray's songs have a timeworn quality that's far more charismatic.
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