When we first discovered 20-year-old Jack Gray last year, we were super impressed with his down-to-earth attitude, hooky songs and sheer talent - he'd been writing and producing his own music in a converted studio-caravan for years. The dude picked up a guitar at six and came from a whole family of musicians, so the fact that music came naturally made sense.
The first we ever heard from him was My Hands, a smart and sleek song with infectious energy, but with the drop of his debut EP Nights Like This today, it's pretty damn apparent that Jack's not just another run-of-the-mill singer/songwriter. The five-track release is all killer no filler, showcasing the many genres Jack traipses while never once sacrificing on quality.
First song Fools (which he's also dropped as a single today) is the clear highlight on the record and we're glad the record doesn't make us wait for it. With a deceptively catchy guitar riff that sets the tone perfectly for Jack's voice of longing, it's something you could imagine on a dozen Netflix teen rom-coms and is going straight into our Sunday arvo sesh playlist - try and stop us.
Drunk Talk is a song we've heard already and captures that coming-of-age energy that's hard for anyone other than someone actually coming of age to write. Somewhere between The 1975 and Zayn, it's restrained yet euphoric and impossible not to keep humming.
Down Side Of Up is notably rockier than the rest, more Brit indie rock than the rest but no less hooky, while Bullet is a darker side of Jack, one that's more jaded and heartbroken than you might imagine 20-year-old to be. With a dagger-to-the-heart line like "it took a bullet for the pain to escape", Down Side Of Up just shows that Jack's got maturity beyond his years.
Take Our Time rounds out the 16-minute EP and it's the sombre, introspective side of Jack. Piano-led with subtle, minimalistic electronic production, Jack says this song's about "life's transitions". After a stellar first release like this, we get the feeling there will be many more positive life transitions ahead.
You can catch Jack Gray on tour this June - Thursday, June 27th at The Gallery, Oxford Art Factory in Sydney, Friday, June 28th at the Grace Darling Hotel in Melbourne and Saturday, June 29th at Greaser Bar in Brisbane.