Girl Ray - 'Girl'

7/10

After the modest success of their much-loved debut album 'Earl Grey' in 2017, London-based trio Girl Ray took their sound on the road these last couple of years, but overtime found themselves listening to far more commercial influences than their laid-back indie-pop aesthetic would suggest. And after many months of digesting acts like Ariana Grande and Drake, the three-piece slowly came round to the idea that this was far more in line with the music that they wanted to make than what they had previously worked on, and so have returned with a far glossier and pop-focused follow-up in the form of 'Girl', a sweeping yet uplifting new collection.

Although it should be said that the band have hardly thrown themselves completely in the deep end here as many of the sonic dynamics of their previous album remain ingrained on this new release, but instead the whole tone seems to have changed and moved on since then. Focusing themselves more towards the hybrid pop-rock sounds of Haim or Glass Animals, Girl Ray's 'Girl' is a far more laid-back and minimal affair throughout. Stripping back the guitars and percussion to create a far more ambient return seems to have given them a new lease of life and now deliver a sophomore record that looks to highlight their ongoing evolution as a band.

It may be a stretch for fans of their first LP to embrace straight away, but 'Girl' has this oddly appealing feel to it. Keeping itself focused and cohesive throughout, the group have completely latched on to this new direction and have given it their fullest attention, making for a smooth and calming return that you'll find yourself warming to over time.

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