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Hardworking Welsh singer-songwriter Gray, whose three previous albums won him a devoted transatlantic cult following, achieves a substantial artistic and commercial breakthrough with this 11-song effort, his first for high-profile fan Dave Matthews' new A.T.O. label. As on his prior releases, Gray's songwriting embodies genuine emotional and compositional depth, giving such tunes as "Please Forgive Me," "Babylon," "Nightblindness," and "This Year's Love" a mood of romantic melancholy and an ageless sense of wonder that suggests that this collection is likely to have a lengthy shelf life. Where his early work maintained a straightforward acoustic folkie sound, White Ladder, integrates sampled sounds and sequenced rhythms (courtesy of the artist's single-named, multi-instrumental collaborator Clune) alongside the fuller band arrangements that Gray employed on his third effort Sell Sell Sell, with distinctly satisfying results. Augmenting the album's ten original Gray compositions is a tender reading of Soft Cell's heartbreaking synth-pop ballad "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye."