Matthew Gray and the Awful Truth - The Crocodile EP

Matthew Gray and the Awful Truth – The Crocodile EP


Matthew Gray sounds a little like Ringo Starr. A slightly nasal quality to his vocals is not the only thing he has in common with the Fab Four‘s drummer. His EP The Crocodile has a whimsical, playful quality that would not have been out of place in the Beatles‘ lighter moments.

The title track is a great and promising start to the Lancashire native’s EP, an ode to the prehistoric reptile that has endured for 83.5 million years and is still going strong. Backed by parade drums, sultry female vocals and a happily grunting tuba, the song features Matthew’s laconic singing voice educating us about this amazing creature, with deadpan humor that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Mathew Gray reminds me a little of a hip, slightly bohemian college professor. It turns out he is indeed a university lecturer and his drummer a doctor in middle Eastern studies, so it’s probably no wonder that this EP is slightly cerebral, albeit in a very tongue-in-cheek and enjoyable manner.

I was initially a little disappointed that the other three songs on the EP aren’t quite as entertaining as the title track, but that is not to say they’re not excellent songs.

‘Took Away Tomorrow’ is a pretty acoustic ballad, a bittersweet tale of a break up seen from a girl’s perspective. Tenderly sympathetic while at the same time laconically resigned, the song features lyrics such as “Nothing’s ever black and white, it’s only shades of grey”.

‘Someone to Blame’ reminds me of 70s vintage Simon and Garfunkel. It continues in a melancholy vein and examines with sardonic wit taking responsibility for your actions and your destiny. Special kudos to the arrangement on this one, courtesy of Gray’s band the Awful Truth, with lots of sweet percussion and a subtle yet very effective musical build up.

Closer ‘The Soldier’ is about as funny as a heart attack, but it serves as a proper bookend and counterweight to the title track. Backed by a bleak string arrangement and fingerpicked guitar, it’s that rare artifact, a modern day anti-war song. As whimsically entertaining as the first song is, ‘the Soldier’ is equally brilliant and captivating, putting a human face on the madness that is war. The strings manage to sound plaintive and accusatory at the same time, while Gray’s vocals border on the atonal, droning the simple yet effective melody as a kind of modern day slightly more brainy Bob Dylan.

‘The Crocodile EP’ by Mathew Gray and the Awful Truth is a very British affair in the best possible sense of the word. It features whimsy, wit and social consciousness, all qualities sorely lacking in so much of what’s being released today. Do yourself a favor and buy a copy or download: you will even learn something about one of the earth’s oldest creatures, courtesy of the hippest college teacher in Britain.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.