Hailing form North London, Girl Ray are a band in their infancy, or to be more accurate, in their adolescence. Still in their teens this trio, made up of Poppy (guitar/vocals), Iris (drums) and Sophie (bass) are on their way to great things. Naming themselves through word play of the surrealist artist Man Ray, there are hints of art school sensibilities, years before the possibility of university.
Their first single, Trouble was recorded on what would have been their last day of school and released late last year, yet the sound is certainly beyond their years.
Their songs document the typical dramas of that difficult age between school and real life. That time when a falling out of love can be devastating, and the breakdown of a friendship can be even more so. I’m certainly interested to see where the song writing goes as this band matures.
They are already writing and making brilliant music; lyrically intense yet light and witty, the songs almost feel like they belong to a different time. Girl Ray are taking us back to a more lo-fi time and feeling. In a musical world that has had a recent influx of indie girl groups, Girl Ray are offering something markedly different. The 90’s influences here are evident. As I listen, my mind is taken back to bands like Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, Hefner (who in my opinion are widely underrated, check them out too if you’re in the listening mood), Stereolab and, at times, the Pipettes.
Vocally there is a somewhat more historic influence. The Nico-esque vibes lead singer Poppy is giving out are strong, in a very good way. I’ve always been a fan of a low, breathy, nicely disinterested vocal and find myself smiling as each song unfolds to showcase dreamy tones. There is some nice vocal layering put to good use, but they have avoided the trap of the overuse of reverb which can ruin a good song almost before it’s started.
Girl Ray’s debut album Earl Grey was released last week on Moshi Moshi Records, who in their time have managed notable successes such as Hot Chip, Metronomy, and Florence and the Machine. Here’s hoping that they have similar fortune with this trio.
Where can you catch them I hear you ask? Well you’re in luck. As part of Ventnor International Festival, them good folk the organisers have granted our town a special treat in bringing Girl Ray down and they will be playing at St Catherine’s Church on Friday at 8.30pm.
I would heartily recommend going along o check them out, there could be big things in these girls’ futures and wouldn’t it be lovely to say that you caught them before they hit the big time.