Girl RayMoshi Moshi
Released: 8th December 2017
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Girl Ray, the North London three-piece comprising 19 year-olds Poppy Hankin (guitar/vocals), Iris McConnell (drums) and Sophie Moss (bass) have made, in Earl Grey, a classic debut album imbued with enough melodic ingenuity to make their naive take on pop music disarmingly charming, a triumph of brilliant homespun pop music.
You should already know and love singles like Trouble and Stupid Things and the album has so many moments their stellar equal. Beautiful melodies and bittersweet words tumble out one after the other, it’s not over-thought but it is fairly sophisticated in places. Main songwriter, Poppy Hankin seems part of a loose school where the teachers are surely Carole King, The Beatles and The Zombies. If that’s the case, she’s learnt well, the twist is that the group’s sound undercuts what could be a kind of posh perfection with DIY instant actionism more associated with music from 20 years later than that - Dolly Mixture, Girls At Our Best!, maybe even The Gist at their poppiest. Finally they are part of a contemporary strand of almost accidental optimism that includes Sacred Paws, Spinning Coin and The Orielles.
A bunch of teenage girls from North London have provided one of the soundtracks to summer 2017. It’s like a coming of age record for a better, non-Brexity summer of 2017. Incredible, immediate pop music. So into it.
Girl Ray was formed two years ago when the band were still just 16 years old and in a twist of fate as symbolic as it was bittersweet, ‘Trouble’, their first single for Moshi Moshi was recorded on what would have been their final day of school. A band whose songs document the dramas of adolescence with a wit and wistfulness far beyond their years, Girl Ray are the sound of that uncertain period in everybody’s life when the rest of it starts to loom large, when feels are felt more intensely than ever before, and when every decision seems like a fork in the road on your way to adulthood. Being a teenager is a crucible of heightened emotions and transformative confusion from which the ‘real’ you will ultimately emerge, having fallen in love (and out again), outgrown friendships you thought would last forever, and changed in ways you never thought possible. What you typically won’t emerge with, however, is a debut album as richly evocative of the experience as ‘Earl Grey’.
Recorded with their friend (and now touring guitarist) Mike O'Malley over two "intense and insane" weeks at Ramsgate's Big Jelly studios, Earl Grey is a record of invention and ambition, whose delicate, sun-dappled melodies dance around the inside of your skull like a flickering zoetrope of memories - some fond, others less so.