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Goldray at the Borderline, London - live review

Goldray and The Mothers Earth Experiment team up for a far-out live experience

The crowd at a prog gig
(Image: © Katja Ogrin)

A nine-minute epic, it has a loping, funk blues midsection that allows the players to get lost in their oceanic, psych drone music, and a coda that mixes up Floydian ambience with free jazz bursts. Talos is another sectional piece, with a tricksy time signature and a freewheeling approach that sees them melding Krautrock, blues and prog. Eco-anthem Cool Down Mama is bluesy funkadelia with art rock touches and a blistering guitar solo. Ones to watch.

Rasmussen, all billowing red dress, brings a theatrical quality to her performance. She can certainly hit those high notes, but her lightly rasping, soaring voice, over the predictable chords and changes of Rising, sounds more like Bonnie Tyler fronting Kula Shaker than anything more exotic. Eyes could be Siouxsie Sioux in charge of a pedestrian psych-bedazzled rock band. Where the Banshees took psychedelia to a new place, Goldray are mired in its conventions, from the sitar to the lyrics and reverb-drenched vocals.

Elsewhere they aim for the feral energy of Led Zeppelin. On Outloud, Rasmussen goes for a Plant-esque shriek, but it’s less a wolverine howl than a screechy caterwaul. In fact, it’s not until Whole Lotta Love comes over the PA after the gig is over that you think, “Ah! That’s it, done properly.” Really, a track like Soulchild is more on the level of a budget The Cult with a female Ian Astbury at the mic.

Goldray allude to the mystical power of rock, but ultimately fail to conjure it. Calling Your Name has a slow-burning intensity, but in its delivery it’s less The Doors in the desert than a window onto a shopworn, tried and tested set of mannerisms and cliches. Right now, this band are not convincing.

Paul Lester is the editor of Record Collector. He began freelancing for Melody Maker in the late 80s, and was later made Features Editor. He was a member of the team that launched Uncut Magazine, where he became Deputy Editor. In 2006 he went freelance again and has written for The Guardian, The Times, the Sunday Times, the Telegraph, Classic Rock, Q and the Jewish Chronicle. He has also written books on Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Bjork, The Verve, Gang Of Four, Wire, Lady Gaga, Robbie Williams, the Spice Girls, and Pink.