Wray - Wray - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Wray - Wray

by Jim Cunnar Rating:9.5 Release Date:2014-07-15

When one thinks about Birmingham, Alabama, they probably don't associate it with indie-rock, much less the crunchy, repetitive, bass-heavy, distorted, guitar-driven noise the band Wray hits us over the head with on their eponymous debut, released last summer on Communicating Vessels. 

It's simply brilliant. The songs seamlessly transition, building into walls of sound then pulling back, giving us a chance to catch our breath. 'Blood Moon' opens the album with a 50-second fade-in.  Seriously. It's like walking down the hall in your dorm at college, towards the cool guy's room who always has something new blaring out of his speakers. The sound builds louder and louder, and as you get to the open door, you can't help but stick your head in and ask "What the hell is this? It's amazing!". 

'Apacheria' and 'Swells' are massive, songs you can't help bop your head and tap your feet to with the volume turned up in your car, or with your over-the-ear headphones keeping the world at bay.  I'm imagining you don't want to be up against the speakers when they play these live. 

'May 15' is the longest track - a seven-plus-minute churning beauty, where the repetetion doesn't wear thin. It's followed by 'Gray', which provides a nice reprieve before the album wraps with 'Bad Heart' and 'Relative',  early Cure-influenced rockers seasoned with heavier distortion than the first part of the album.

Clocking in at a brief 27 minutes, this is sonic gem, a glimpse into what the South can create.  Bands like Bass Drum of Death, Kings of Leon, and My Morning Jacket all hail from south of the Mason-Dixon line, and Wray joins this growing list of influential artists. Wray makes shoegaze accessible, with just enough distorted power-chord fuzz to make us shoegaze purists proud.   

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