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+