Every couple of years a band from the UK puts out an album that goes mostly unnoticed here in the States. Last summer Girl Ray released their debut, Earl Grey, and I heard nothing about it until the announcement that they would be opening some shows for Porches this year. After taking some time to listen to the record a couple times, I find it to be very good.
It brings a lot of influences from bands I already love, like Camera Obscura and Belle & Sebastian, and twists them into a kind of funky hybrid. There are some odd tempo changes and minimal production makes the sound all their own. It is a beautiful record to listen to, despite the lo-fi feel.
My favorite track comes in two parts. “Stupid Things” has an almost bubblegum appeal, but the way it’s paced helps avoid anything too saccharine. Further down the tracklisting there’s a reprise of the song that starts with a piano and quiet vocal performance, more like a demo. As it ends, a guitar riff is played and the song turns into a very slinky, sexy island jam that sounds a little like Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor.”
It’s been out for more than six months, so unsurprisingly the vinyl is sold out. However, you can still get the whole thing digitally on their bandcamp page. If you’re interested in catching them live with Porches, check out their Facebook page for tour details.