Goldray – Feel The Change

Goldray – Feel The Change
Akashic Records/Cargo Records UK
Release Date: 31/07/2020
Running Time: 39:36
Review by Martin Bennewith
8.5/10

Goldray were not really on my radar before now. I feel like I have been missing out, but not anymore. Leah Rasmussen’s strong and stirring vocals, together with (Former Reef Guitarist) Kenwyn House’s melodic intricate guitar lines are short of the perfect marriage, so it does take time to understand their relationship, but I think I do get it after listening through this. Their deep psychedelic progressive rock fuelled album “Feel The Change” demonstrates this to the fullest. While on my journey through this, at times I would close my eyes and almost feel the energy running through me, as if I was listening to them live, but then I would open them again, and realise I was still alone in my room.

The feel of the album is firmly announced in the first track ‘Oz’ – which for the most part is a phased rhythmic lead riff matched against steady stirring vocals and swirling effects. At times, it has an eastern feel to it both through the vocal melodies and the way the guitar riff morphs, as well as some mellow lead playing against stirring effects as the track moves from energetic to dreamy in a way that works really well. It is definitely one to close your eyes to, only to be nudged back to reality with the nifty but slightly self-indulgent lead playing towards the end of the track.

Title track ‘Feel The Change’ begins with some really nice arpeggiated guitar work, giving it an almost acoustic feel. Leah doesn’t disappoint with her vocal work – emotional with expression that builds up as the track develops with great energy. The track has a fairly laid-back feel throughout, but with enough groove, direction and meaning to keep me interested.

‘The Forest’ has an equally sweet feel and progression, and you really can hear House’s Hendrix influences shining through with his melodic rhythmic playing as well as the lead parts, whereas ‘The Forest (Part 2)’ in contrast has a heavier energy to it, and made me wish I still had hair to fly around while rocking my head to the beat. Leah’s impressive vocal range and versatility really shine at the climax of the track as my journey through ‘The Forest’ nears the end.

We return to a slightly eastern, more psychedelic feel on ‘How Do You Know’, with heavily reverberated vocals, against an energetic beat and repetitive hypnotic guitar lines. I don’t think this is the most memorable track on the album, musically it didn’t hold my interest as much as the other tracks, but it does have a guitar part that is lengthy and full of raw energy to spice things up a lot towards the end.

Next track, ‘The Beat Inside’ has a really pumping guitar riff that will blow the dust off your speakers. Following most of the album’s formula, the stirring vocal work strikes an almost unusual contrast which is most evident in this track. With ad-lib style vocals and lead, this track feels like a bit of a jam session, albeit a jam session that I love to listen to. This is followed by ‘Come On’ which in contrast, has a more laid-back country feel, so the vocals do not sound so much detached as they occasionally do in the more energetic numbers.

On the final track ‘Phoenix Rising’, I could really hear Kenwyn House’s style shining through with his Hendrixesque rhythm play and intricate bluesy lead lines. After lots of energy and vocal stirrings to finish the proceedings, I opened my eyes, and felt like I had listened to a pretty good album!

I don’t think this album will be for everyone. The style is quite raw. Musically, it sometimes sounds like a jam session as opposed to a work of art, and the vocals at times feel like they don’t quite fit the music. But if you are like me, and you can see that the way this was put together was to draw you in and send you into a dream that is mixed with raw energy and emotion, then you will like it a lot.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Oz
02. Feel The Change
03. The Forest
04. The Forest (Part 2)
05. How Do You Know
06. The Beat Inside
07. Come On
08. Phoenix Rising

LINE-UP:
Leah Ray Rasmussen – Vocals
Kenwyn House. – Guitars, Piano, Farfisa Electric Organ, Bass, Backing Vocals

Plus, appearances from:
Geoff Laurens – Bass
Mike Kenna – Bass
Jamie Morrison – Drums & Percussion
Jonny Brister – Drums & Percussion
Lee Spreadbury – Electric Piano, Keyboards
Stephen Large – Hammond Organ

LINKS:
www.goldrayband.com/
www.facebook.com/Goldrayband
www.instagram.com/goldrayband/
www.twitter.com/Goldrayband
www.open.spotify.com/artist/03shUdhAgHcvpG1dXz2WXT
www.youtube.com/channel/UCNkWB93F51PRK4geKuQP52w

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Martin Bennewith and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Moonlight Desires – At The Movies EP

Moonlight Desires – At The Movies EP
Infamous Butcher Records
Release Date: 17/07/2020
Running Time: 15:01
Review by Martin Bennewith
7/10

Sometimes it is good to go back in time. Nostalgia is a wonderful thing, and it brings back lots of memories, and when the cue that triggers you to drift back in time is positive and energetic, then you will often find that the memories are laced with joy. What I like most about this EP is that it gives me a double dose of nostalgia. The most obvious one being the 80’s, where hair was big, music was made out of cheese, and 45’s were a thing, but it also sent me back to just after the turn of the millennium, when I still had hair, and bands such as Green Day, Wheatus and the Foo Fighters were somewhere in my CD pile.

In a Nutshell, Moonlight Desires are an alternative rock band boasting a style that fits in well with my noughties CD collection, but they apply this sound to turn well known 80’s hits on their head. “At The Movies” goes one further as it is a collection of 4 tracks from classic 80’s movies, so it really is great food if you have got an appetite for reliving moments from the past.

It kicks off (no pun intended!) with ‘Glory Of Love’ – Peter Cetera’s original version can be found in the film ‘The Karate Kid’, and this song certainly packs a punch. This is not the first time that this song has been given a rock makeover, as New Found Glory fans will tell you. As such, Moonlight Desires’ take on this song is more like the New Found Glory Version, albeit with more of a hard rock edge. It starts off with obligatory power chords which sets the tone for the whole track, along with a cutting lead guitar producing the melody, and as you hear the vocals and lead melodies develop, you can see where it is heading. When the chorus kicks in, I have to remind myself that I am not listening to Teenage Dirtbag, but this is not a criticism! The track, given the style, is itching for a lead solo, and it does not disappoint. I do find that the vocals slightly lack a cutting edge and are almost drowned out by the guitars. I think given the powerful feel-good lyrics the song possesses, I would have liked to hear the singing cut through a tad more. Apart from this, I think it is well produced, dare I say slightly overproduced.

Next on the list is a track from the film ‘Dirty Dancing’ – ‘Hungry Eyes’. It is certainly an interesting take on the song, with guitars a plenty. It has a lot of energy, and is certainly not as predictable as the first track. Imagine heavy vocals, overdriven rhythm guitars, and lots of lead breaks, alternating from energy, to calm, and back again. One thing I will say, is the opening did not capture my attention at first, and the feel I got was slightly lazy, however the journey from beginning to end was certainly one to grab attention overall. The pace of the track varies so much, that you sometimes forget you are listening to the same song. It goes from a Green Day type rhythm guitar with complimenting melodies to perhaps overly indulgent guitar noodling more like Motorhead. I was not a fan of the original song, and I certainly do prefer this version. Perhaps the dull nature of the original was why Moonlight Desires spent a lot of work creating something that is quite far apart from what Eric Carmen came up with.

The third instalment is a cover of The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough – My recollection of this song, as well as the Cyndi Lauper original are almost non-existent, so I will take this for what it is without any comparison. I think this, vocally, has the most energy. Think Dave Grohl mixed with the sarcastic tones of Billie Joe Armstrong. The music is also complimentary to this style. It is quite predictable, similar to ‘Glory Of Love’, but this is probably a good thing, as I imagine being in the middle of a mosh pit when the chorus comes on, and it certainly reminds me of those days. Lots of power chords, a great rhythm, and this time, the lead guitar is merely adding to the energy rather than taking over. It has a high feel-good factor, without too much depth or thought provoking to note.

The final outing, ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ is a bit of an anti-climax. I loved the original, so perhaps I am biased and not taking this for what it is, but I don’t think this would have done it for me if it were their song. There are a couple of reasons for this. The vocals do not have the same level of energy and light-hearted sarcasm that come across on the first three tracks, and the style seems out of context. It feels too close to the original for my liking. To be fair, they do manage to funk up the song with some rhythmic lead fills and attempt to create the kind of energy that their music clearly aims to generate, but for this to be more connected to the rest, they could have strayed away a bit from Simple Mind’s version. Perhaps as the original is great, they might not have wanted to destroy it, but in trying not to they have fallen short of what could have been possible.

Overall I enjoyed listening to “At The Movies” and although a lot of this was because of the novelty element, it brought a smile to my face, took me back in time, and brought back some good memories, so for this I would give it a thumbs up.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Glory Of Love (Peter Cetera Cover)
02. Hungry Eyes (Eric Carmen Cover)
03. The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough (Cyndi Lauper Cover)~
04. Don’t You Forget About Me (Simple Minds Cover)

LINE-UP:
Juan Helluva – 5 String Bass/Backup Vocals
Ashley Blue – 6 String Guitar/Backup Vocals
Twan Holliday – Vocals/8 String Bass
Christopher James – Drums

LINKS:
www.moonlightdesires.ca/
www.facebook.com/moonlightdesires/
www.twitter.com/MoonlightBand1
www.instagram.com/moonlightdesiresband/

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Martin Bennewith and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.