Tickets are now available for Girl Ray at Rescue Rooms!
Inspired by C-86-style indie pop, singer/songwriters like Todd Rundgren. Also folky psychedelia, the North London trio Girl Ray formed while still in school. After releasing a few well-regarded singles, they signed a recording contract. Then graduated high school, and soon after, released their debut album, 2018’s Earl Grey. By the time of their second album, 2019’s Girl, they had jettisoned almost all aspect of their previous approach. In favour of something much more modern and radio pop influenced.
Getting together over a school holiday, guitarist/vocalist Poppy Hankin and drummer Iris McConnell started writing songs together, but the band only took shape when bassist Sophie Moss joined up. The trio recorded their first single, “Ghosty,” while doing their A Levels. Another single, “I’ll Make This Fun,” followed; then Girl Ray signed to Moshi Moshi. They recorded their first single for the label, “Trouble,” on what would have been their last day of school; it was released in late 2016.
The band played shows all around the U.K., covered the Waitresses’ “Christmas Wrapping” at holiday time, and began working on an album. With input from friend Mike O’Malley, who served as the group’s live guitarist at many gigs, they spent two weeks in Big Jelly Studios in Ramsgate laying down the songs that would be featured on their debut.
After releasing a couple songs from the sessions (“Stupid Things,” “Preacher”) as teasers, the harmony-filled Earl Grey came out in mid-2017. Girl Ray then set off on their first headlining tour of the U.K., and in early 2018 released the single “The Way We Came Back.” When they got back home, Hankin started writing songs in the vein of Earl Grey but was unsatisfied with the results.
She and the other members of the band were mainly listening to modern pop like Arianna Grande and decided to shift the group’s sound to account for their new influences. Working with producer Ash Workman (Metronomy/Christine and the Queens,) the trio aimed for recordings that combined their lush vocal harmonies with a left-field pop approach. The resulting album, Girl, came out on Moshi Moshi in late 2019.
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