Rays – Rays (Trouble in Mind)

Genre – Post Punk

Oakland, California’s latest punk ‘super group’ has arrived with a debut album packed full of  70s / 80s post-punk, nihilistic apathy.

At a time when the world seems a desperate place, the Californian quartet are dead set on finding humour, and mixing it with their happy brand of lo-fi punk rock, in a visceral attempt to remain sane.

Opening with Attic, Rays introduce the album with a few blunt, simplistic chords that slowly guide you in with a light hearted, fuzzy, warmness that shows the softer side of the Bay Area veterans.

Dead Man’s Curve takes on much more of a post punk vibe, with feedback coming more and more into play. Despite the scuzzier sound from the feedback, Rays deliver an upbeat number that’s deeply influenced by the Beach Boys, and has a strong sense of 60s surf rock with a rugged rhythm guitar dictating the tempo.

Dead Man’s Curve is a truly unusual punk / post punk track, and one that’s packed with melody and eclecticism,  but is let down badly by Lost In A Cage, which immediately follows it. Rays have undoubtedly followed the same writing / production process with this track, but it’s much more of a directionless, wishy washy pop song that is lyrically weak, and as such, should probably have been left off this 11 track album.

Tracks like Pain and Sorrow, Gambler and Drop Dead (despite their titles) are all soaked in a wonderful teenage insouciance, wrapped up in knee jerk guitar rock that grabs you, sucks you in and makes you move along to these fantastically weird rockers.

Back Downtown on the other hand is slowed down, with the incessant urgency of the rest of the album stripped away and replaced with a raw punk sound that is much thicker and darker in sound. This deep, dark sound profoundly contrasts the rest of the album and prevents it floating into a stream of lo-fi, post punk oblivion.1

This self-titled debut is an extremely interesting listen, and the wirey, jerky style of the band will fascinate fans all over the world, but to be clear, this is not a straight laced post-punk album wrapped up in fuzz – it’s a deeply ironic, happy album, flooded with an array of 60s influence along with the obvious punk and post punk sounds.

RUSHONROCK RATED – 7.5/10 A joyous album packed with weird new-wave swirls and sugar-sticky hooks!