Goldray must have been hitting the musical gym somewhere between 2017’s debut Rising and Feel The Change because the new record from singer Leah Rasmussen and guitarist Kenwyn House has a substantially heavier weight to its tread and more swagger to its step than its predecessor. Recorded at Spinroad Studios in Gothenburg, the album aligns Goldray more closely with the luminaries of Sweden’s vibrant retro rock revivalist movement, alongside the likes of Lucifer, Blues Pills, and Black Mirrors. That’s not to suggest they’ve cut all ties with the style of their psychedelic debut: that influence is still there but now it’s flavoured with a heady, throat-burning shot of blues.
Rasmussen delivers one knockout performance after another. She can belt it out, all fire and guts, displayed in Phoenix Rising, or switch into Grace Slick mode (during her Jefferson Airplane-era rather than Starship’s We Built This City years) when the time comes to trip out in How Do You Know. The opening track Oz is a spectacular showcase for her expansive range as she ascends into her upper register like an occult priestess reaching out through the ether to converse with the spirit world.
She’s matched at every step by House, the guitar-toting shaman at her side. His wah-wah-powered lead work in Oz drives the song towards an exultant crescendo, while he brings some Tony Iommi, proto-metal riffage and a positively blistering solo to The Forest Part 2. The Beat Inside stomps along with insistent urgency, but they’re smart enough to make sure every track is defined by peaks and valleys, so
the music is never just gliding along on autopilot.
Goldray always take the most scenic route, whether through a dirty blues groove or via astral projection into the cosmos. Yet there’s a basic formula at work. Each track is formed around a main groove and riff, and there’s always a slow, mesmerising build towards a glorious, final peak. The focus is firmly on the vocals and guitar, with the rhythm section of drums, bass and organ providing the backdrop, yet there’s not one single dud amongst the eight tracks here. Rasmussen weaves long, sinuous lines through Come On, while House sounds inspired and liberated by this heavier, uninhibited direction.
It’s tough for newer bands to get any traction on rock radio shows that are dominated by long-established names, but Feel The Change is a thrilling listen that deserves to reach far beyond the enclaves of retro rock devotees in Sweden, Finland and Germany. Goldray have made an album that’s gloriously wicked and divine in equal measure.
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