Gavin Degraw - Gavin Degraw (Sony BMG)
There is a respectable tradition of music that creeps up on the listener rather than having instant impact. The eponymous second studio album from Gavin Degraw, which has already enjoyed success in America and more modestly in Europe, is a good example. The initial obstacles to enjoyment are based on three questions: what is it, who is it for and where are the tunes? Starting with the last question, a couple of hours of dutiful attention yields signs of melodic life, not anthemic Killers tunes, or indeed killer tunes of any kind, but reasonably memorable sequences that just about make the effort worthwhile. In Love With A Girl, Cheated On Me and especially Next To Me are among a clutch of decent songs, and the delivery is professional throughout, as might be expected from a graduate of New York's small venue circuit. As for genre and market, the answers are less clear. Nothing about the album suggests ground is being broken; the one definition that springs to mind is safe, sensible, softish rock. No one is likely to be offended, but it is difficult to imagine anyone encountering Degraw for the first time and thinking they have stumbled upon something special. Perhaps it is just rock for people who don't take rock too seriously.
Published: July 1, 2008 04:00 AM