Sunray are not the kind of band to be reticent about their sources of inspiration. From the first few seconds of Full Circle’s 11-minute opener Here To Go it’s clear they’ve been worshipping long and hard at the brutal altar of krautrock. Shades of Neu! and Faust don’t just permeate the sound, they saturate it. But behind the pounding motorik there is a discernible sense of melody, a feeling that at any moment an unstoppable guitar hook might pierce the cosmic fog. It is a track that is always teetering on the edge of something, and it sustains itself by never quite going over that edge.
There is more of the same on Revelation, which adds to the mix a hint of Eight Miles High jangle. It is as if Sunray are intent on introducing their influences by degrees. As if to confirm it, the next track, Take Me There (the first vocal piece on the record) goes all out for the Byrds sound. It’s an interesting game, but one which may struggle to last the length of an album without lapsing into pastiche. Luckily, while the eclecticism remains, the band have an underlying groove that gives them a sound of their own and provides a natural starting point for their flights into the epic and obscure realms of 60s and 70s rock.
Baby Honey throbs away manfully on massive, pulsating guitars. Golden Dawn is the album’s biggest departure and its pleasantest surprise – pastoral strings and hand drums help weave a bucolic tale. Thru The Night takes the Velvet’s simple Sunday Morning template and somehow makes it even simpler, before introducing the unexpected but welcome vocals of Sophie Ray.
In many ways Full Circle shouldn’t work, but while it may lack a certain amount of originality it certainly does not lack authenticity. The skill of its execution and the power of its sound are more than enough to pull it through. A welcome addition to the collection of anyone with a penchant for kosmische musik, droney psych or West Coast flower pop.
Review by: Thomas Blake
Take Me There
Full Circle is released via Enraptured.
Order it here via Amazon