Nathan Gray, who is most famous as singer of post-hardcore band Boy Sets Fire, offers his first solo work, the EP "NTHN GRY." It is an industrial-tinged dark pop album with Gray's vocals sung in a voice not unlike David Bowie's laden with an array of effects. This EP is heavy on the synth, creating ambient soundscapes behind simply written and concise ballads.

The EP begins with "Wolves," a smooth electronic song with crisp production, horror movie samples, and synth that give the track a dark, creepy, and futuristic sound. "Tomorrow" implements a sparse drum and bass influenced backbeat and big chorus, reminding me of Faith No More’s slower ballad-like songs. Gray also sings with a somewhat Mike Patton-like phrasing and delivery. The next track is "Baptismal Rites," which begins with long and steady pipe organ and funk/soul-influenced vocal style common with Patton or a more tormented Prince. "Corson" closes out the EP proper as an acoustic ballad heavy on the cello and strings. Included with this digital version of "NTHN GRY" is a more upbeat and dance-y remix of "Wolves." "Tomorrow" and "Baptismal Rites" are performed again more simply and using an acoustic guitar and keyboard only, showing what a live experience could sound like. "Wayward Ghosts" is an added track with a simple and driving acoustic downstrum with ambient noise in the background.

This style of rock/pop is personally not something I am usually into or have an extensive background in. Had it not been for his previous work with Boy Sets Fire, I would not have even selected this record to listen to and review. The bottom line is that this is a well put together short teaser of an album that I'm not very interested in, but many will and should be excited about. Fans of Boy Sets of Fire will definitely want to check this out, as it is their guy going out on a limb and doing something totally different. When I saw the name, I was of course expecting the usual: punk/hardcore icon does folky country album, a genre-shift that so ridiculously many have done and so very few have done well. This is absolutely not one of those records, and it is refreshing to hear an aging solo punk artist add something so outside of the box to the punk canon.