by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)
Boston’s Blue Ray has already released four album this year with varying degrees of structure, accessibility, and thresholds for lo-fi noise pop. It’s been an awakening for the project as they’ve carved out a niche for blown-out chaos while their mind embraces warm pop melodies (albeit usually buried deep beneath the squalor), and it turns out they’re not done just yet. Set to release OGFIL at the tail end of the year via Super Wimpy Punch Records (We Can All Be Sorry, Lester, Gia Greene), their latest is a shift in delivery, though a slight one. Instead of the band’s usual approach to letting the vocals peak way into the red with yelps and carefree ramshackle melodies, Johnny Steines (vocals/guitar) opts for a story-telling approach, weaving colorful observations and an active sense of humor into spoken word.
The band’s nuance for over layered distortion and feedback that works to build rather than detract is still well in tact, each song blistering in lo-fi simplicity with fractured tones that hover in the still of their atmosphere. Steines’ stories range from adventures in pursuit of frogs (“Frog Cop Lasagna” with some outrageous sax noise from WCABS / Be You Me’s Alec Pombriant) and old man balls used as a means of storage to the simple joys of having cute dogs and corner store relationships.
When the band are at their most detached and twangy there’s a passing resemblance to Barkmarket and when at their most accessible, the band touch upon everything that made Modest Mouse such an endearing band in the early years. The stories unfold in unison with the songs, but both aspects seem to appear on their own wavelength, lashing out unexpectedly with warped stabs of noise and the occasional shouted phrase. The stories are easy to follow and hold their space despite all that swirls around it, Steines’ retelling of the mundane sounding exciting in the context’s caterwauling accompaniment.
Blue Ray’s OGFIL is out December 26th via Super Wimpy Punch Records.