The Graceless Age - John Murry
User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14

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  1. Jun 22, 2013
    10
    To me this is an album of 2012, but anyway, John Murry has made some of the best songs this decade. "Little Colored Balloons" is one of the strongest songs I've ever heard, "Southern Sky" is a masterpiece, "Things We Lost In the Fire" presents the great singer/songwriter, and "Thorn Tree In the Garden" shows he sure knows to pick his cover-songs. The rest is brilliant!
  2. Jun 8, 2013
    9
    At first listen I thought this is a bit dreary and it had a sense of it's been done before.Ten listens later and I'm stopping what I'm doing, placing myself between the speakers and savouring every moment. Fantastic!
  3. Jun 29, 2013
    9
    What a great album? Start to end, every song. Favorites- The Ballad of the Pajama Kid, California, Little Colored Balloons, Southern Sky, Penny Nails, really all are excellent. The style has the ballad expertise of Springsteen, Kathleen Edwards but the lyrics are so powerful they demand a close listen,
  4. Jun 1, 2013
    9
    Every now and then an album comes along that blows me away, it doesn’t happen all that often anymore but it does still happen and ‘The Graceless Age’ falls firmly into that category. I didn’t really know much about John Murry before getting this record but I now feel I know him intimately and through this amazing album I can feel his pain, in the words of Bob Dylan there is definitely blood on the tracks along with sweat, tears and a whole host of other emotions. Right from the opener ‘The Ballad of the Pajama Kid’ with its Pearl Jam meets ‘Knocking on Heaven’s Door’ mash up you can just tell this is going to be a special record and there is no better example of his self-confessional approach as the ten minute ‘Little Colored Balloons’ the sparse piano, cello and minimal gospel hues underpin the true story of Murry’s heroin overdose, he was dead for several minutes before being revived. It has shades of Jason Spaceman’s confessionals on ‘Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space’ but whereas he went grand with big sounds and production Murry is content with a stripped bare approach letting the sordid tale and his cracked and bruised vocal speak for itself. The innocent title refers to the way the drug was dispensed in his home town in coloured balloons. Guitars, strings and Hammond organ are often layered throughout punctuated by sounds clipped from police broadcasts, radio shows and television, distant voices are present but lost in the compositions perhaps reflecting how Murry felt in the world at the time when he was in the throes of his addictions. Lyrically it is deep and dark but musically it can sound like R.E.M., Jim White, Sparklehorse and in its more atmospheric sections not too dissimilar to Smog. In fact across the ten songs there probably won’t be anything that will leap out as sounding all that new but it’s in the familiarity, warmth and clever construction that Murry can truly open up and take the listener on a journey into the darkest places a human can go and still survive. Like John Grant’s reinvention and subsequent rise on 2010 ‘Queen of Denmark’ it is my hope that enough people find this album and make sure it hits the end of year lists as high as it deserves. Four years in the making this is a remarkable record that has real heart just note that the heart in question is pretty black. Expand
Metascore
88

Universal acclaim - based on 7 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. May 21, 2013
    80
    As harrowing and honest as some lyrics may be, though, the intensely beautiful Southern Sky at least offers his "crooked arms" some redemption. [Sep 2012, p.104]
  2. Fans of Springsteen's downer side might flow with the music's riverine vibe.
  3. May 21, 2013
    90
    This is what The Graceless Age as a whole does so unforgettably, bearing witness to a burning world. [Sep 2012, p.70]