Ahead of the band’s first full-length later this spring, we take a look at Goldray’s self-titled debut mini album which was released earlier this year. Consisting of four mesmeric and dramatic soundscapes bred in early seventies psychedelic temptations within fiery rock embraces, the release is an enthralling encounter fuelling the imagination and emotions whilst laying down the most compelling bait for the upcoming album.
Goldray is the project of Reef guitarist Kenwyn House who formed the band in 2010 when teaming up with vocalist Leah Rasmussen (Hydrogen, EMI, Bedrock, Renaissance). Sharing the vision to create music ‘blending psych and prog experimental arrangements resulting in a dynamic that took them towards psychedelic rock’, the pair enlisted Kula Shaker drummer Paul Winter-Hart and bassist Sinah Blohberger in 2010 and 2011 respectively. The band’s second year saw Andy Treacey (Faithless) take over the sticks whilst in 2012 Geoff Laurens (The Resistors) joined the band to take over bass duties. Financed via Pledge Music, the mini album features performances from both the previously mentioned drummers as it revels in the inspiration of the psych rock tradition of the late-sixties and early-seventies. House has commented on that influential period by saying “That era is so avoided by most of the media and the musical orthodoxy which is strange considering how powerful that time was for music and culture. Much of what was being said then – freedom, war, environment – is just as relevant, if not more relevant, today. It’s such a rich area to draw on.”
Co-produced by Clive Martin with House and Rasmussen, with final touches provided by Brit Award-winning producer Pedro Ferreira, the mini-album saw its first ‘soft’ release to pledgers last November with an official release on the band’s own Akashic Records late January. It is a proposition which washes over the senses with melodic flames which seduce as potently as the almost siren like voice of Rasmussen, though she only leads the imagination into inciting adventures of sonic invention within evocative landscapes rather than any destructive intent. Opening song Outland instantly transfixes attention with an initial caress of thick sonic coaxing, a firm and strong yet gentle beckoning. With a darkly resonating bass tone joining in with the celestial caresses of Rasmussen’s delivery, a sultry air and heat envelops the senses as the band paint its intensive canvas. The track continues to drift and entwine around thoughts and emotions but with a bordering on exhaustive intensity and drama which enflames ears to imagination, passions to appetite. It is an immersive flight which challenges and seduces with equal strength before leaving the psyche in the hand of the closing glance of Instrumental: The Arrival, it a lingering spice which only increases the already awoken anticipation for the album as it closes the first song.
The following Calling Your Name emerges from dark imposing shadows and a menacing rhythmic stalking, a discord kissed surface to the guitars an additionally sinister taste to the portentous entrance. The voice of Rasmussen provides a beacon through the darkness, holding back the dark nightmares and drawing in breaking shafts of melodic warmth and magnetic beauty. It is a glorious evocation soon surpassing the potency of its predecessor. Its towering and slightly threatening walls frame an unpredictable and transfixing waltz, rhythms and bass continuing their heavy persistence whilst vocals sublimely entrance within their cage. The best track on the release it is a delicious danger and seduction rolled into one.
Indigo Sky courts a warmer climate though shadows and intensive incitement are no stranger to the soundscape either. As Rasmussen soars through the evocative textures and expansive sonic painting, guitars and rhythms unveil rich provocative hues and inventive temptations to bewitch and push the senses whilst the bass again lays down a dark lure which only adds to the engrossing call of the journey.
The closing Diamond Road is in many ways the most strongly sixties influenced offering, its body and melodic soul seemingly more impacted by those evocative flavours of the time especially with the delicious Doors like keys, though just as boldly it embraces a richly coloured modern sonic fire. Completed by the brief Instrumental: The Busking Magician, the track is an epically enthralling conclusion to a similarly compelling release. Goldray’s first official offering is a strikingly full and fulfilling encounter which if a hint of the upcoming album provides the strongest enticement possible.
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