Even Post-Punk, once a fresh reinterpretation of the punk ethos, has entered a gooey nostalgia phase over the past few years. That’s where Rays come in. An Oakland, CA post-punk supergroup – and traditionalists down do the bones – their grimy, low-fi recordings conjure dank basements that have long since crumbled, or have become quaint tourist attractions for local music nerds.
It’s a sound they nail; wiry guitars and hollow bass circle around each other, the rest of the air swallowed by clattering drums as the mangled vocals strain to be heard above the noise. Each song feeling as if it was recorded in one intoxicated bender, as vocalists switch from track to track, although it’s hard to make out who’s who underneath the rubble. ‘Made of Shadows’ clears some of the murk of the band’s aesthetic to reveal a tightness not otherwise noticeable, while ‘Drop Dead’ is a piercing fever-dream highlight, but Ray’s steadfast determination to evoke the past has ultimately led to a debut that feels tame and one-note in too many parts, forty-odd years after-the-fact.
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