by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)
Last year we had the pleasure of premiering Cove Sauce's "Science Class," a song that really hit me in a special place, the perfect blend of loose punk and unpredictable caterwauling guitars. Shortly after the release of their EP, I was introduced to Blue Ray, an ultra prolific project from Cove Sauce's Johnny Steines who has recently been joined by CS' guitarist turned drummer Aidan Breen. While their former band is currently dormant, Blue Ray is having an exceptionally productive year so far, quietly releasing a full length, GrubHub, and an EP, Glassy Gnomes, both gems of avant-pop squalor and reckless blistering lo-fi. It's underground music you can fall in love with. Blue Ray are that band you want to tell everyone about, even if only half those people "get it".
Blue Ray isn't done with 2018 yet though. Hell, they're not even done with the first half of this year. Set to release Open Sesame, a new full length on May 26th via Super Wimpy Punch, their latest is another aggressively blown out batch of perfected weirdness. Squealing distortion is used like paint on the canvas, coloring in songs with otherwise common structures, dropping enormous bursts of noise and feedback with a haphazard sensibility. It's not just noisy and freaked out for the sake of being noisy and freaked out though, Steines has worked his fuzzy lo-fi clamor into something magical, accenting each song with an enveloping wall, his shrieks and dissonance creating a stronger reinforcement to the melodies skewed just beneath it. The ten tracks of Open Sesame are aggravated but lively, a dismantling that resides somewhere between unfolding insanity and catharsis via sound therapy.
"Tennis," opens it up with the guitars and manic shouts battling each other to see which can push the song further into the red. Lucky for us, they both win, which in turn means we all win. Blue Ray play like a band with nothing to lose and everything to gain. It's probably not the best soundtrack for a headache, but listen on headphones and the carnage is as blissful as can be, Steines' guitars taking on lives of their own throughout the appropriately titled ramshackle of "Shake Shake" and the agitated slacker pop anthem "Bluesy". The EP is loud and abrasive in tonality, but the songs are filled with heart and a carefree attitude that makes it undeniably fun. There are moments of accessible brilliance ("S.O.S.") and relatively jangly punk ("Rascal"), but everything is bastardized in noise, the glue that holds Open Sesame together. The world hardly needs another lo-fi bedroom pop album, but when turned upside down and blown to smithereens, this one is as good as it gets.