Goldray, live in London

Ex-members of Reef take a turn for the psychedelic in London

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(Image: © Katja Ogrin)

Goldray first came to our attention in 2014 with the release of a self-titled EP that conjured up the spirit of San Francisco and the Summer Of Love. It was an acid-drenched, patchouli-scented, lava-lamped collection of spiralling riffs courtesy of former Reef guitarist Kenwyn House, adorned by the banshee vocal of Leah Rasmussun. Since then the similarly psychedelic Purson have stolen Goldray’s thunder somewhat, but tonight is a new opportunity.

First, the good: There’s no doubt that Goldray look magnificent. Bass player Geoff Laurens has a thick mop of unruly hair and is cloaked in something that appears to have been cleverly tailored from the remains of a dismantled disco ball. House is long of hair and bare of chest, with an enormous medallion dangling snugly between the lapels of a jacket embroidered in purple and gold. And Rasmussen is a vision in tumbling locks and tassled floral chiffon. Cloaked in something that looks like one of Ozzy Osbourne’s old spaghetti suits after being refurbished by an intoxicated Laura Ashley, with a mic stand carefully festooned with plastic flowers, she’s fresh off the magic bus from Haight-Asbury.

Second, the bad: what Goldray lack is the most important thing: songs. Opener Outloud swirls and grooves atop a thundering riff, but it feels like an exercise in hippy bluster rather than a genuine attempt to write something you’ll be humming on the way home. Diamond Road is cut from similar cloth, a loose-limbed freakout that makes for an interesting journey without a set destination, while new single Soulchild has a thumping riff wrapped around an arrangement that makes all the right noises but never comes close to climaxing with a genuine chorus. It’s individual moments that thrill more than the songs, like the effervescent solo on Rising.

Third, the ugly, but there is no ugly. While so many modern rock gigs seem to be a stand-off between attractive looking bands performing in front of an audience old enough to be their parents, Goldray have got a crowd that’s at least part youthful and unusually good looking. There’s definitely something happening here, but we don’t yet know what it is. If Goldray can add some songwriting chops to their dazzling wardrobe and dramatic sonics, bigger venues might beckon.