Could Gregory Gray’s hidden project be the destruction of all civilized life? This Northern Irish newcomer starts off his debut — he really says this — by trading in his attaché case. ”Someday,” he sings, ”the world will surrender itself to a friend we call universal groove.” ”Get outta the way!” screams a voice. Then an irresistible dance beat begins, with Gray riding over it, joyfully crying, ”I don’t give a damn!”
Which is more than fine. But as he spools out his philosophy, everything starts to sound too familiar: It’s a tough world out there, but you gotta be true to yourself. Even the music, half-dance, half-rock, starts to fade into blankness.
Finally (in the album’s last track, titled ”Coming Back for More”), Gray promises a guitar coming at us ”at a hundred miles an hour.” But it ambles by at no more than 55. Too bad: Strong at Broken Places starts off so nicely. C+