The contemporary wave of lo-fi, angsty and juvenile guitar balladry isn't threatening to seize anytime soon. Rubbing shoulders with the likes of The Big Moon and Goat Girl, Girl Ray are in the centre of the scene. Their debut, Early Grey, strikes gold and fulfils every hope held by a growing fandom.
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Although it's been noticed that Girl Ray have taken influenced from the C86 batch of bands who trademarked the spindly guitar and naive melodies that makes the best bits of indie-pop so wholesome, this London three piece are no shamblers. Their melodies and in particular the lush voice of singer Poppy Hankin are aiming higher. The twisting turning tunes of the likes of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci and Super Furry Animals are in evidence throughout. Like last week's Fake Laugh record it sounds like a higher plateau is being aimed at. 'Stupid Things' for example has elements of Belle and Sebastien's song craft and has remnants of the drip down effect Motown has had on the indie loving fraternity.
These songs are rudimentally performed with scratchy guitars and don't immediately hit you over the head. Single 'Preacher' for example has a minute of inconsequential guitar strumming before revealing it's melody."Crafted" is not always a word that you would think is uttered readily around the indie discos but Girl Ray are songwriters more than they are indie starlets. They remind me of the time Tracy Thorn used one simple guitar to showcase her talents on 'A Distant Shore' before heading onto pop stardom. Girl Ray may have the dynamics of the Raincoats but 'Earl Grey' suggests a band that have studied the Tin Pan Alley and Brill Building songwriters whilst tuning their guitars. It flickers inconsequentially at times but this is littered with lovely moments.
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