On a cold and miserable night in January with still more grey days ahead we all need some Girl Ray. Emerging from their hibernation like snowdrops Poppy, Sophie, Iris (and not forgetting Girl Ray bloke Mike) bring warmth, joy and some welcome quirkiness as they headline this eclectic night curated by The Line Of Best Fit.
Tonight they’re cosy, casual and dusted with disco glitter. Girl Ray are a perfect antidote to all those driven and sombre guitar toting bloke bands – they just don’t take themselves too seriously. Fortunately, it’s Friday night because the time-keeping is suitably slack. Drummer Iris has been battling a wobbly mic stand. Are they ready? Are we nearly there yet? Um no. Iris needs a wee. We know this because Poppy announces it and the Lexington crowd parts as Iris leaves to relieve herself. Meanwhile Sophie has been looking somewhat terrified over by her keyboard and receives comforting looks and reassurance from a friend. Poppy breaks out of her daydreaming to apologise for the delay and suggests nothing will stop them now. We’re off. Bang! No we’re not. A loud crash sounds out of the monitors. Head in hands did Poppy speak too soon…
Finally they begin and the heat haze of Girl shimmers from the stage with it’s sweetly innocent themes of summer love. Don’t Go Back At Ten follows with its quirky almost Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci style undulations that made the Girl Ray 2017 debut album Earl Grey so gentle and appealing. Back then, during a 6 Music radio session, the band made tongue in cheek comments about their potential to move into a more disco or R&B direction. It’s a route other bands like Belle & Sebastian have also chose Jaunty tracks like Friend Like That and Just Down The Hall from the 2020 follow-up album certainly glam up the mood in an XX meets Everything But the Girl indie disco way.
The twee turns to absolute glee as Poppy introduces a song which she claims she isn’t sure she knows the words to. She’s messing about of course, and they launch into a cover of club classic Murder On The Dancefloor. It’s the new single release raising funds for the Hackney Night Shelter. That glitterball is burning, baby.
Then there’s a brief foray back to the off kilter indie of the Earl Grey album with Trouble (or ‘Twubbel’ as the hand illustrated set-list states) and Where Am I Now – bringing more sweet backing vocals from Sophie. The electro grooves and the upbeat mood returns for Show Me More before last summer’s single Give Me Your Love completes the set with Poppy adding vocoder to the mix. This ain’t rock’n’ roll but Girl Ray may well soundtrack your latest party. Proper winter warmers…
Murder On The Dancefloor by Girl Ray is available here: girlray.bandcamp.com – all proceeds go to the Hackney Night Shelter (www.hwns.org.uk)