As soon as the first taste of synthesisers shimmer into the foreground on sun-kissed opener ‘Girl’, it is clear that Girl Ray were born to make pop music. Swapping jangly guitars for computer beats, the North London trio have created a second album that signals a new sound for the band, all the while retaining the catchy melodies and heart-on-sleeve lyrics that made their debut so endearing.
Hiring producer Ash Workman to carry out their Ariane Grande vision also seems to be a match made in heaven, his work with the likes of Metronomy and Christine and the Queens clearly rubbing off on the trio, heightening and refining their already in-built groove. The best example of this can be seen on lead single ‘Show Me More’, an infectious, modern-day anthem that even the dads standing at the back of gig venues will struggle not to dance to.
Elsewhere on the record, Girl Ray manage to shift seamlessly between the effortless R&B rhythms of tracks such as ‘Takes Time’ (featuring a star turn from guest rapper PSwuave) and more surreal moments such as on ‘Because’; a spiritual ancestor to the Beatles song of the same name, that begins in similar haunting choral fashion before evolving into something altogether more intriguing.
This combined with a perfectly placed flute solo and a beautiful, orchestral closing ballad emphasises how it could never quite be as simple as ‘Girl Ray do pop!’, the band's continued desire to experiment in both genre and instrumentation ensuring this is a record that is captivating from start to finish; a joyous, expertly crafted reflection of love and friendship.