Goldray - 'Feel The Change' Album Review
2. Feel The Change
3. The Forest
4. The Forest Pt 2
5. How Do You Know
6. The Beat Inside
7. Come On
8. Phoenix Rising
The High Priest, Kenwyn House (Reef) and High Priestess Leah Rasmussen (EMI, Bedrock, Renaissance), are back with the second Goldray album, 'Feel The Change'. Their cosmic child, Goldray, of one of the UKs leading Psych Rock partnerships treated us to an exquisite debut album in 2017 with 'Rising'. The question is will the second album be as good. The answer is no, It has eclipsed it. If the first album was was a roadmap, then 'Feel The Change' is the journey. Buckle up, here we go!
I could write a review with the same word count as usual for the first track alone. Some might say that an opener, that you release as a single, which is over seven minutes long is a brave move. It is not with ‘Oz’ though, as it is stunning. With the first opening chord of the heavy synth, laden with echo, you know that you are hurtling on a hell of a journey. Kenwyn adds a bass chord that drives through the track like a train. Then Leah’s vocal kicks in like an organic synth, with an infinite octave range. Her vocals are soulful and soaring, with reverb it seems as if the vocal and the guitar riffs are as one, in a kaleidoscope of sound. The song changes direction at the halfway mark. The tempo slows with some killer riffs, almost as if you are transcending onto another plane. Leah’s voice has an ethereal quality as the song then starts accelerating and then goes as heavy as you like, with pounding riffs and licks that would make the most self conscious person break their arms with air guitar. Was it brave? No. I wish all the tracks were this long.
Obviously they could not keep this tempo, we would be exhausted by track three if they did. The title track ‘Feel The Change’ starts off with slow guitar plucking that is a lot cleaner than the opener. So good is Leah Rasmussen’s vocal range that she can be compared to many a female vocalist. Each one being a vocalist that is at the top of her game, and it is they that should be flattered. This is a soulful song with all the emphasis on the vocal. If Stevie Nicks did this track she would be hard pressed to improve on it. In the final third, Kenwyn House takes centre stage with a guitar solo that makes your spine tingle.
The next two songs, as the titles suggest are really one song split into two. ‘The Forest’ starts with again with guitar picking, but this is heavy Blues. Again the vocals are mesmerising and Leah has such depth in her voice that you could fall into it and wrap it around you. The percussion punches in and drives the track. We all know what a great guitarist Kenwyn is, but he has no right to play as well as he does on this. His groovy licks and solo at the end are obscenely good. As someone who has tried and failed to play the guitar, I hate the man already, as he seems to have a divine talent to make a few strings, a solid body and some electronics sing like nothing else on earth.
As you would expect ‘The Forest Pt 2’ picks up where the Forest ended, but with a thumping, almost Metal riff. It is heavy, Bluesy and downright filthy. It would take a good voice to keep up, luckily Leah is blessed with a great voice. Like nectar being poured on a fire. Kenwyn has fun on this track, taking over in the middle, until Leah soars over his feedback, to bring it back to Mother Earth. I would love to see both Forests played live. I have a feeling they would be spectacular.
‘How Do You Know’ was released with 'Oz' as a double A side. The video was mesmerising and this is where the journey goes full pelt. Like the synth in 'Oz', Kenwyn’s Power chords, full of eastern promise grabs you and you know that you have to cling on for your life. The vocals are warm and have oceanic depth. I was reminded of Grace Slick, from the outset, and then as the song progresses and Leah pleads ‘How Do You Know’, you realise that this would have been a smash for Jefferson Airplane. This is is Pysch Rock at its best. The High Priestess delivering her sermon, while the High Priest hypnotises us all with fuzzy riffs. This song is one hell of a trip, in many ways.
‘The Beat Inside’ starts with a Zeppelinesque heavy riff, the kind that with the bass up, kicks you in the ribs. The darkness of the music is lit up with Leahs vocals that strafe like a searchlight. The Blues Rock is tempered with the lyrics which as just as catchy as the licks. Towards the end of the track Kenwyn treats us to more solo mastery, with a far heavier bass line than previous songs. The light of Leah, compliments the heaviness of Kenwyn, which again proves that as a partnership the Ying perfectly balances the Yang. No trailing ending here though the song just stops in it’s tracks.
Are we at the penultimate song already, see I told you, they should all be 7 minutes long! The intro is delicious, full of echo. The vocals kick in full of sassiness as Leah beckons us in. This has a real soulful vibe to it as we are asked to use our middle eye to find the door we are looking for. To contrast with the darkness before this is catchy and uplifting. Our spiritual Mother is taking control and is telling us, that it is going to be OK, and I believe her. The guitar has a late 60’s Blues Rock feel and I am sure that this song will get the crowd singing back when it is played live.
Sadly, I have now run out of songs to review with the closing track ‘Phoenix Rising’. The heaviness is still there, as the ethereal vocals carry us away. You can sense the levitation as this track, with the guitar and percussion as tight as a snare act as the rocket fuel with the vocal as the spacecraft. Just as Kenwyn sounds like he is going to go into a riff trance, Leah slows it down with whispered vocals. This really demonstrates the balance between the two. There is a final Zeppelin like riff and then the journey comes to an end, far too early. Always leave them wanting more, hey? So when is the next album out?
Even with the power of the internet at my disposal, I cannot find the words to describe how awesome this album is. Like all great albums, you need to start at track one and end at track eight, as it hangs together perfectly. Leah and Kenwyn’s partnership is as one. The music has the meaning and the lyric has the message. As Psych goes this is pretty much perfect.
'Feel The Change' is full of mysticism and takes you on on a cosmic journey, full of enlightenment. The world is a very dark place, but our journey is our own, so we need to find the way. Goldray are showing us the light. It would be best listened to in a dark room with good quality headphones on, on vinyl. If you are going on a journey of a lifetime, you want to use the best vehicle. If you only buy one album this year, make it this one, and go on one hell of a trip. The High Priestess will look after us, so come on.
'Feel The Change' will be released on 31st July and Pre Orders are available now so don’t lose out.
Website - www.goldrayband.com
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Review - Tony Creek