The spotlight shines brightly on the mixed-genre music scene as GRAYtheband announces the long-awaited arrival of their inaugural album, “All Done”. Led by the versatile Gray Ford, the Edmonton-based project marries traditional instrumentation with modern production, delivering an enthralling and distinctive blend of alternative, indie-pop-rock, neo-soul, and R&B influences. This acts as the follow-up to the sophomore single “‘Bit Late” and debut single “All Done”.
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Track-By-Track Album Review: “All Done” By GRAYtheBand
“All Done” marks a significant milestone, offering listeners a poignant journey through the complexities of modern life, relationships, and self-discovery. Embracing themes of love and disparity, the album mirrors the diverse experiences of navigating life’s highs and lows, resonating deeply with a wide audience.
Supported by the Alberta Foundations for the Arts, the album’s eight tracks, meticulously crafted at Royal Studio with Arnel Ethier, stand as a testament to collaborative creativity. Featuring stellar local talents like K-Riz and Janay Thomas, this musical endeavour encapsulates a blend of refined artistry and raw emotion, anchored by Gray Ford’s evocative vocal style.
Opening the debut album with the title track – which was also GRAYtheband’s debut single – we’re introduced to this project with Gray Ford not holding back one bit as he delves into lyrics about overcoming a difficult period in his life, accompanied by a progressive indie-rock ballad backing track. The prominent drums keep the pace of the song, surrounding Ford’s incredible vocals which send chills to the listener.
Unabashed and Hardy
“Unabashed and Hardy” follows next, which starts with piano chords. drum beats, and lo-fi sounds that coalesce beautifully around Ford’s voice. The track brings an air of an evening chilled romance dinner date where a backing band can be heard as you enjoy a meal, and GRAYtheband encapsulates that atmosphere. As the bridge kicks in, Ford takes his vocals to the next level hitting falsettos like no other.
‘Bit Late (feat. K-Riz)
“‘Bit Late” featuring K-Riz follows next, the sophomore single, which is a powerful and emotional track that truly allows both artists to shine. Effortlessly coming from the heart, Ford impresses as he delves into his feelings of love while the band brings some bass to exemplify the sound. K-Riz adds his flawless rapping skills to the mix, aligning his flow with the beat and bringing impassioned lyrical delivery. As the song nears the end, Ford delves in with some soul vocals, driving home how he has been feeling about this person he’s falling for.
Track four is “Locked In” which sees GRAYtheband tune back to their alternative ballad indie-rock with the bass taking a more centre stage as Ford doesn’t hold back bringing a comfortable edge to his awesome voice as metaphorical lyrics only add to the ambience that sees him compare the relationship to a loan contract. He then takes it a step further with vocables to finish the song which only makes the track even more addicting.
“Frozen Ground” follows next stripping the tone back even more allowing Ford’s voice to take the spotlight fully. Heartbreaking lyrics, Ford explains how he just isn’t ready for the relationship he is in and he can’t keep going pretending as he reveals that what they have between them isn’t love, and there’s no way to fix it because he isn’t ready. Even though he cares for them, it’s just not working out for him. As the emotional song comes to an end, he quickens the pace with an addicting drum rhythm around touching vocals that hit lyrics about how he’ll always love and respect them, but he just can’t go on acting as if everything is okay.
We totally need a breather after that traumatic track and GRAYtheband totally understands that by following with “Listless Interlude”, which runs for 46 seconds and sees him repeat the iconic ending from the previous track, only stripping it down and making it linger in the listeners’ minds, driving home the message even more so with Ford adding heartfelt passion through soulful vocals with an R&B twist and a sincere falsetto.
Ending with a few seconds of silence, allowing the interlude to breathe, “Cold Comfort” comes in bringing tuneful piano keys from the get-go and a rhythmic drum leading into a neo-soul alternative-indie ballad that comes from the heart as Ford takes listeners into a passionate narrative. Impressing indelibly in the bridge, Ford adds flawless vocalise that easily makes this a stand-out track.
That Much of a Life
The band ends the album with “That Much of a Life”, which takes a different approach to Ford’s songwriting, seeing him delve into lyrics of hope and fulfilment in a relationship that he wasn’t expecting, one he never expected. Regardless, he’s grateful for how his partner lifts him up and makes his life so much better.
It’s a poignant ending which directly contrasts the opening song, “All Done”. The opening track marks the end of a chapter of turmoil in the speaker’s life, while this ending track, “That Much of a Life”, offers hope and wonder at the beginning of a momentous union. Fleshing out their alternative neo-soul, around occasional indie-pop-rock vibes, GRAYtheband leaves a stunning impression on listeners, full of hopefulness and appreciation.
Talking about the final song on the album, Ford said, “The song explores feelings of gratitude and wonder experienced while forging an unanticipated bond with someone who will forever change our sense of self and purpose.”
Album Release Event
Celebrating this musical milestone, GRAYtheband is set to host an immersive album release event on December 8, 2023, at The Aviary in Edmonton. Expect an electrifying evening with the opening act Malaika Hailey, mesmerising visual art from Macha Abdallah & Denis Mpabuka, and an infectious DJ set by DJ Juice.
The debut of “All Done” heralds not just an album release but an entrancing musical experience, inviting audiences to immerse themselves in GRAYtheband’s captivating sonic journey.
“All Done”, by GRAYtheband, is available to download and stream, right now, across all platforms.
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