Oakland band Rays return to the fray with their second album, You Can Get There From Here, their first release since their eponymous Trouble In Mind debut in 2016. Rays formed in the fertile crescent of the California Bay Area, a hotbed of musical growth in the past decade, and Rays' members pull not only from that recent miasma but also from a wealth of Bay Area musical history.
You Can Get There From Here represents a turning point for the band, angling their scrappy, post-punk fury into a more refined & melodic pop sensibility, drawing inspiration from UK DIY pop & punk like Dolly Mixture, Cleaners From Venus, Television Personalities & more. Straight from the gate, songs like "Fallen Stars" & "The Garden" temper their sonic crunch ever so slightly, relying more on the harmonic wallop of a solid hook than the sheer volume of guitars & cymbal crashes. This is urgent, chiming guitar pop of the highest order that clangs with a sonorous melancholy & a ramshackle grace. Rays can still lay it down with the rest of 'em; tunes like "Subway" & "Work of Art" shuffle & stumble forward, skirting chaos in a flurry of strums, recalling recent antipodean pop groups like UV Race, Dick Diver or The Shifters who cull inspiration from idiosyncratic UK greats like Mark E. Smith or Robyn Hitchcock. With You Can Get There From Here, Rays add their voice to the chorus. The new album finds the core group of Stanley Martinez, Eva Hannan, Troy Hewitt & Alexa Pantalone augmented by new member & keyboardist Britta Leijonflycht, whose synth flourishes add melodic embellishments, sonic heft or psychedelic swirl where needed.