Personnel: David Gray (vocals, guitar, piano, harmonium, Wurlitzer organ); Robbie Malone (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bouzouki, harmonium, background vocals); Neill MacColl (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, background vocals); Keith Prior (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixer: Simon Changer.
Recording information: Abbey Road Studio 1; The Church Studios.
Illustrator: Devin Becker.
Photographer: Teddy Telles.
Written during the same sessions that spawned 2009's Draw the Line, Foundling is another pleasant, pastoral effort from David Gray, who seems to have settled into a contemporary folk mold after flirting with electronics during the `90s. "Only the Wine," which kicks off this two-disc set with acoustic guitar and brushed percussion, takes its cues from Van Morrison and Nick Drake, both of whom serve as stylistic touchstones throughout the album. Gray plays to his strengths fairly well, keeping the tempos leisurely and the mood relaxed, and he looks to his arrangements for diversity, either paring a song down to its piano-and-vocals skeleton or dressing it up in light layers of strings, organ, and electric guitar. When he does throw a curve ball into the mix, it's a nice change -- the slow-building title track stretches a Celtic soul groove over five and a half minutes, and "Morning Theme" (one of the eight tracks that make up the bonus disc) sets itself up as a piano lullaby, with fingerplucked guitar arpeggios and gauzy, cooing harmonies rounding out the song. Those moments are few and far between, but David Gray doesn't really purport to be anything other than a contemporary folk-pop singer, and Foundling finds him doing what he does best. ~ Andrew Leahey
Rolling Stone - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[The songs] are uniformly beautiful, with just enough ear-cocking moments and lyrical curveballs to make you wish, well, that there were more of them."
Entertainment Weekly (p.126) - "Carried by his ruff voice, FOUNDLING's all warm arrangements and real emotion." -- Grade: B
Mojo (Publisher) (p.102) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "'Forgetting' finds him at a piano with subtle string colouring....His world-weary timbre remains the focus."