Girl Ray – “Girl” Album Review
The all-female ensemble Girl Ray is back with its sophomore album “Girl.” Playing with a far more subdued approach to its sound, Girl Ray’s latest project shines as an exquisite exhibition of modern indie pop.
Arriving on the scene in 2017 with the promising debut album “Earl Grey,” Girl Ray has slowly made a name for itself thanks to its unique bright pop sound. Consisting of three good friends from high school, the members of Girl Ray released their first album just soon after their graduation. Since then, the band has consistently been working to solidify its image and have traveled around the U.K. on several tours. Meshing the playful presence of groups such as the Go-Go’s and the Bangles with the experimental aesthetics of groups like the Cocteau Twins and Stereolab, Girl Ray rises as a modern take on the avant-pop genre. The band’s latest effort further proves its outstanding potential and provides evidence for its impressive ability to maintain its sound while still experimenting with new styles.
Opening with the fizzy “Girl,” the group boldly exhibits its fresh direction with an entirely unique pop track. Featuring bouncing, soothing sighs alongside glossy grooves, Girl Ray showcases its seemingly effortless ability to craft captivating soundscapes.
The album then moves to the sleek “Show Me More” and the cautious “Just Down the Hall.” The girls really hit their stride with such excellent exhibitions of their new sound. In particular, “Just Down the Hall” rises above being a filler track, thanks to the group’s interesting decision to add a tonal shift near the end of the song. Throughout the album, Girl Ray consistently keeps the listener engaged by changing up the rhythms and feel of the music with near perfect precision.
The album then transitions to the pacifying “Because.” Integrating a distanced beckoning siren-esque sound, the track brilliantly meshes both retro and progressive aesthetics. The song feels as if it places you afloat on a slow-winding lazy river, thanks to the trio’s alluring mellow vocals.
Other notable moments on the album include the delicate “Let It Go” and the smooth “Takes Time.” The group expertly transitions from humming flutes to a memorable spoken-word performance provided by guest PSwuave. The girls really attempt to shine a light on the range of their sound and are particularly effective at maintaining their presence, despite their constant shifts in tone.
Charming and evidently aspirational, “Girl” is a pleasantly surprising mellow joyride. Sentimental towards its influences but also determined to push forward, Girl Ray manages to provide a generous exhibition of its fresh indie-pop sound with each track feeling well-utilized and well-executed.
Still somewhat struggling to define its fledgling style, the group has definitely arrived on a sound which is nearly perfect for its pursuits. “Girl” is notably cohesive while also fairly diverse in its thematic coverage. The girls effectively transition through several moods, but never lose the listener. For only its second album, Girl Ray, impressively, has already garnered a decent grasp over its pleasantly effervescent sound. Looking towards the future, Girl Ray should attempt to blend its previous prominent presence and its new subdued approach, so that it can really explore even further into its mesmerizing sound.
Reviewer’s Favorite Song: “Girl,” “Because”
Reviewer’s Least Favorite Song: N/A
Scott Perdue is a junior majoring in secondary education. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.