Girl Ray – Prestige

Girl Ray

The past few years have been focused on both reintroducing genres that were popular in the past and repopularising songs from the 70s/80s/90s and one genre I have noticed being brought back into pop music as of recently is the disco of the 80s. With synths and catchy playful guitar riffs Girl Ray are throwing themselves back a couple of decades to bring us a new generation of lively disco music with their most recent album ‘Prestige’.

Starting off the album with an engaging intro that seems to have the sounds of someone walking into a party that then goes smoothly into the first full song of the album ‘True Love’, Prestige’ manages to ease you into the fun, groovy feeling that disco music tends to create. The excitable guitar rhythms that play throughout ‘True Love’ do a wonderful job of working alongside the vocals to create a fun atmosphere that sets the tone for the rest of the record which stays feeling bright and cheerful, often following themes of love and wanting to be with someone, which is ‘masterfully explained by the singer/songwriter of the band Poppy Hankin.

One of my favourite songs was the single ‘Hold Tight’, the sixth track on the album, which is one of the love songs on the LP, celebrating the appreciation someone has for their partner just for being there. When asked about the song Hankin said “Lyrically this song is about how appreciative I am to have found my partner, and how my mental load feels so much lighter and easier to bear now that I’m with her. The production on this takes some inspiration from Haim’s incredible record ‘Women in Music Pt. III’, and features a subby drum loop inspired by Atlanta’s hip hop scene”. ‘This song’Hold Tight’ is a complete joy to listen to, the guitar rhythm played largely in major creates a fun feeling and the moment when everything drops out except the bass and electronic drums creates a wonderful difference from the rest of the song.

Something else that I liked throughout the whole album, but especially in ‘Hold Tight’ was how noticeable the bass was while still blending in. When you listen to a incredibly well produced album it is rare that the bass is that clear in the mix unless it is the only thing that is playing and it makes a wonderful change and I think it really adds to the overall sound. The production overall is fantastic though, the introduction of synths throughout the music when a lot of the sound is from physical instruments comes across very naturally, especially in songs such as ‘Tell Me’, which is sometimes very difficult to do. It is a real credit to the production and to the composition skills.

To add on, the final track of the album, ‘Give Me Your Love’, is a wonderful closer to an record that is full of life and love. It is a seven minute love letter to the entire genre of disco, beginning with keys and beautiful harmonies then going into the smooth and bouncing vocals that appear throughout the whole album. This song also has some of my favourite production moments such as the heavy reverb and delay that appears on the end of some of the lines to highlight words such as love. The vocals then build to falling into autotune as an ode to the more modern pop music that is popular nowadays.

The entire album ‘Prestige’ beautifully honours disco while taking inspiration from more modern influences, all while infusing every song, instrument and note with love, celebration and individuality, I can do nothing but congratulate Girl Ray on a success.

Isabelle Evans