Stay Up

Grey Mcmurray

Independent release, 2019

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


A New York City artist who has already worked alongside Gil-Scott Heron, Tyondai Braxton (Battles), Beth Orton, Colin Stetson, ACME, and John Cale, Grey Mcmurray brings us some very diverse textures on this first solo album. An accomplished effort that's full of soul and chamber-esque arrangements where organic and electronic ideas are both used in spades, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Stay Up makes it very apparent how much work went into it, which is appreciated.

“Lo” starts the listen with mood and ambience, as hazy landscapes and dreamy vocals mesh well together in the enlightening delivery. “Wanting Ways” follows with a more sparse environment where expressive vocals and sweeping instrumentation define the artistic and introspective tune.

On a record where no two songs resemble each other all that much, “Speak Less” offers a powerful display of layered vocals in an almost cinematic appeal, while “Blindless Sea Of Light” uses strategic bells and dual gender vocals in the soulful yet experimental effort. “Sunk Like A Stone To The Bottom Of The Sea With Only The Blind Worms To Talk To” is not only the longest song title but one of the album's standouts, with an ominous opening that bleeds into manipulated and sonically challenging, even mesmerizing territory.

Mcmurray back ends the listen with the brief “Weight And Time,” as piano and spoken word shine in a surreal atmosphere, and “I Hear Your Voice” exits the listen mysterious and vocally strong as multiple conversations and singing are mixed together.

Mcmurray handles vocals, guitars, oud, ukulele, harmonium, piano, and others. The 10+ contributors help make Stay Up a dissonant, complicated, and heavily layered affair that is certainly in a league all its own, but may bring to mind the work of Dirty Projectors or Brian Eno.

As long as your musical palette is open and ready to absorb much variety, Grey Mcmurray's vision will settle in quite nicely.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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