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CD REVIEW: Payne's Grey - "Pull it Down"
By David Lockeretz - 07/20/2002 - 01:22 AM EDT

Artist: Band: Payne's Grey
Album: Pull it Down
CD Review: To be sure, the dark, Gothic-electronic sound of Payne's Grey is destined not to appeal to everyone. However, even within the parameters of the band's vision, there are several things that need to happen for this Dallas duo to achieve their goals.

The two main problems are the vocals and the drum programming. Obviously, sounding "pretty" is not always what's called for, especially in an obviously dark context such as this, but Murdock Scott is not convincing enough on the more intense songs, nor is he sensitive enough on the quieter material. The drum programming doesn't accomplish anything that a live drummer couldn't do better.

The band's grasp of songwriting appears rather limp as well. The title cut, for example, opens with a promising acoustic guitar phrase outlining dense harmonies; after the three louder songs that have come before, this is like a breath of fresh air. The vocal line goes nicely over the guitar. Unfortunately, the riff continues ad nauseum with no development or variety until it finally lands on a chorus that seems to be almost arbitrarily placed in the form of the song.

There are spots of potential in this album. "Wet" features interesting electronics that blend together to get a definite groove happening; it is an example of technology used in a musical way and not just for the novelty. "Trust" has powerful, undeniably angry lyrics (which, in all honesty ultimately border a little bit toward self pity). The darkness of this album could be construed as an antidote for the bland, non-threatening top 40 milieu.

But as it stands now, the album only has limited appeal, due to the above-discussed limitations. Payne's Grey has their work cut out for them if they want to transcend their genre.

For more information about Payne's Grey, visit www.paynesgrey.net or www.murdockscott.com.


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