LUCKY 7 is the feature where we ask bands to name their 6 favourite songs by others, and a lucky 7th song of their own. Today we feature a shoegaze band from Birmingham. Fair enough you say. Except it’s Birmingham, Alabama. Welcome to WRAY. You don’t need to be wary of them. It’s anything but a shame about WRAY.
I really enjoyed WRAY’s self-titled debut from 2014, so was pleased to get this year’s new one “Hypatia” (named after an obscure 4th century female philosopher/scientist). It’s fully immersive, mellifluous and escapist – like Ride when they’re off on one, or Slowdive at their optimum. Motorik but with a hybrid engine, krautrock with all the hard syllables removed.
Here’s the title song from “Hypatia”…
This is a new band that I can really get behind, and get lost in, so I was pleased that lead singer/bassist David Brown has chosen his Lucky 7 tunes for Velvet Sheep. So I’ll let him lead the WRAY…(I would apologise for the puns but I do have a feature called a “song for ewe”)…
1. Cocteau Twins – ‘Love’s Easy Tears’
Cocteau Twins were so ahead of their time and so influential to so many bands. They basically invented the dream pop and shoegaze genres. Here they are in their prime in the mid/late eighties performing loves easy tears.
2. A Flock of Seagulls – ‘Wishing (if I had a photograph of you)’
A Flock of Seagulls are super underrated. Most people only know them from their one big hit “I ran” but their first 3 records are great all the way through and often played in our tour van.
3. The Field- ‘Looping State of Mind’
Axel Willner, aka The Field, immerses himself, and the listener, in a complex cloud of micro samples and seemingly simple, yet brilliantly layered percussive rhythms to create his own brand of ambient techno. It has a pulse and force all its own, and over this 10+ minute track you can begin to see and feel just how organic and fluid his thoughts are realized, translated and expanded upon through his signature slow and steady climb, inevitably culminating in its climactic reveal.
4. Rachel Grimes- ‘Mossgrove’
This piece, from her aptly titled Book of Leaves, serves as a deep, restorative breath for when things can seem a bit overwhelming. It’s steady hand on pulsating chords that reverberate and bleed in out of one another, paints a picture of warm and welcomed isolation. There’s a naturalistic air throughout the album with “Mossgrove” acting as a gentle yet assertive stream nudging the listener along in a lone state of tranquility. Aaaand…breathe out.
5. Pale Saints – ‘Blue Flower’
This is my (David Brown) favorite cover of this song and executed beautifully. It’s minimalist and dreamy and it exemplifies the broad influence for early shoegaze bands. Pale Saints are toying with layered effects and wall of sound production in this song but with a cool simplicity and a psychedelic ending.
6. Radio Dept. – ‘Closing Scene’
If you get it, you get it. The Radio Dept. is one of those bands that is so hard to define yet the music fits perfectly with every mood and is always conceptually interesting. I (David Brown) love this band! Closing Scene is from the Freddie and the Trojan Horse EP. Join this fan club!
Lucky 7: WRAY – “Mounts Minding”
WRAY are playing in the UK this week…
The Alternative Escape, Brighton, Marlborough Theatre.
1pm to 5pm
Wray (set time is at 3:15pm)
Friday, May 20
New Venue: Charles Street Bar (upstairs), 8 Marine Parade, Brighton BN2 1TA
THANKS TO WRAY AND TO SARAH LOWE FROM FIFTH AVENUE PR