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There's a certain excitement that hits you when a band seemingly comes out of nowhere to blow you away, a tingle that starts behind the ears & moves down your spine forcing your feet to move. Oakland, CA's RAYS didn’t come out of nowhere, but they’re sure to make your body herk & jerk. Calling RAYS a “supergroup” might be misleading, but not entirely inaccurate; comprised of four Bay-area music veterans; Stanley Martinez, Eva Hannan, Troy Hewitt & Alexa Pantalone whose current & past musical projects include local bands-of-note like The World, Life Stinks, Violent Change, & Dadfag.
On RAYS’ debut album the band spins eleven tunes of wiry, urgent post-punk, one foot planted firmly in the nihilistic apathy of 70 & 80’s punk (Wire, Electric Eels, Pere Ubu, Eno, Television The Fall), Australian punk past & present (UV Race, Terry, Victims, Babeez), and the addictive strum of 80’s & 90’s New Zealand/Flying Nun pop; all of whom have found their own way to meld the ferocity & thuggery of punk with a singular melodic voice. RAYS are no different; the swirling jangle of “Attic” starts the album off, sardonically extolling the joy of ‘attic life’ with Hannan’s monotone conveying an underlying sense of dread & isolation. “Dead Man’s Curve”, with it’s hook-filled, organ-laden chorus plays like a lost teenage tragedy song, celebrating the desperation & angst of reckless youth. ”Elsewhere, tunes like “Theatre of Lunacy”, “Made of Shadows” & “Drop Dead” rage with a desperate fire, speaking to the absurdities of everyday life, but with a wry smile. Shit is fucked, but the members of RAYS seem intent on finding humor within the world’s everyday desperation, because sometimes that’s the only way to stay sane. “Pain & Sorrow”, “Back Downtown” all speak to these truths. The album ends with Hannan’s “Over and Over”, it’s sweet melody belying a derisive outlook on the necessity of modern life & the repetition it requires. Throughout it all, RAYS’ debut never feels angry, Recorded by Bay-area stalwart Kelley Stoltz & mastered by Australian tone-genius Mikey Young (Total Control/ Eddy Current Suppression Ring) RAYS is a joyous album packed with weird new- wave swirls and sugar-sticky hooks.
RIYL: Television Personalities, Babees, Desperate Bicycles, Eddy Current Suppression Ring, UV Race, Modern Lovers, Omni
"The album rides the line between din and divine well, couching bouncy hooks inside gnarled amp fury and crushing paranoid pulses into oddly aloof classics." ~ Raven Sings The Blues
released March 31, 2017
Stanley Martinez: guitar/vocals/violin
Eve Hannan: bass/vocals
Alexa Pantalone: drums/synth
Troy Hewitt: guita/organ/piano/synth
(organ on 'Dead Man's Curve' by Kelley Stoltz)
Recorded April 2016 at Electric Duck, San Francisco by Kelley Stoltz
Mixed and mastered by Mikey Young
Let it be stated:
rock music needs more harmonies,
keys, and wild beauty.
(Fortunately, this one has it all!)
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