Out of Seattle, Washington, the band Forest Ray streams together a juicy mix of the unhinged psychedelic garage rock with tips of brash horns and flutes in the exasperating track “Dravis”. Call it a rock track. Call it a pop rock track. Call it what you will. This song is a killer example of a band that refuses to play by the rules. Forest Ray have a secure base in the crowded indie waters. “Dravis” is one of the first singles released from Forest Ray’s newest album, Faded Reflection.

BANDCAMP: https://forestray.bandcamp.com/track/dravis-single

Faded Reflection, out now via the band’s own Forest Ray Records, contains just six tracks. I thought that was an interestingly lower number for an album, but it turns out Forest Ray records the way the folks used to record: analog. Now it makes sense that there’s just over a handful of tunes on Faded Reflection. It’s the band’s third album, following the 2016 debut, Musical Witchcraft (great title by the way) and August 2018’s Laughing. 2019 is proving to be a breakout year for the Seattle-based Forest Ray. They will also release a project called Wedgwood Tapes and played SXSW in support of their 7” split record with Lasso Spells via Nashville’s Cold Lunch Recording label (Lasso Spells is based in Nashville). Making up the band are Peter Sumic, Sebastian Brown Glad, Eric Junge, Simon Olander, Brennan Moring and Brendan Mcgovern.

FOREST RAY RECORDS: https://www.facebook.com/forestrayrecords/

What makes this song such a mind twister is the wave of sounds – it’s deliciously awesome. From the start “Dravis” has this chummy guitar riff, a slow build. The drums emerge and while they don’t blast you out of the water, they kick you in the stomach just enough that you get the sense this band is bringing the same energy they would if it was the first gig they’ve ever played. That kind of energy! As the song progresses, “Dravis” seems to be less about hearing what the lyrics are and more about getting lost in the foggy, hippie psychedelic music blobs. It’s not trippy like The Monkees’ movie, Head, but it’s sort of like the soul of The Monkees’ song “She”. It’s easy to feel like Forest Ray is from another time and they are committed to doing it the old fashioned way. They don’t fall into that trap and put their own modern stamp on the song.

CD BABY: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/forestray12

More sounds emerge. They incorporate a flute, organ and presumably vibraphone. I’m not quite certain on that, but the band mentions it in their biography, so we’ll go with it. I think that’s where the bright, sunny feel comes into play. Near the end of the track, a thrilling saxophone comes out to play. At first, I wasn’t all that sure about it – it seemed out of place. The more I listened to it, the more I felt like it was conveying this lonely feeling. It’s not forlorn, but the saxophone does feel a bit isolating. Then, it just seems to fade away into the night. Not abruptly, but as if the start of a new day is about to happen.

Michael Rand

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