16. Girl Ray, 'Earl Grey'
North London trio Girl Ray formed three years ago when their members
were in high school, but the craftsmanship on their debut full-length calls
back to Tapestry and
"Tempted" and Tiger Trap. Here, gauzy intertwining vocals and gentle
instrumentals cushion the blow of their more biting lyrics. ("Talking to
our friends all about their favorite cleanse/It gets so old," vocalist
Poppy Hankin sighs on "Don't Go Back at Ten.") "Stupid
Things," with its rolling piano and sunlight-beam backing vocals, is
Carole King by way of K Records; "Just Like That" shimmies and sighs
over exclamation-point riffs. But Girl Ray isn't completely tied to the
verse-chorus-verse ideal: The 13-minute title track blossoms from
dark-cloud moodiness into progged-out clamor. M.J.